Citizens, as promised – here is My third and final recipe on Christmas Day, and what better country to focus on than that most Catholic of constituencies, the emerald Isle of Ireland itself! I almost hesitated in even sharing this, as it is less of a recipe and more of a series of individual ingredients on a plate – but to make a PROPER Irish breakfast, I am prepared to show you the way as the Irish themselves have shown Me (and yes it IS different than the British version!). 🙂
A full breakfast is a substantial cooked breakfast meal, often served in the United Kingdom and Ireland, that typically includes bacon, sausages, eggs, black pudding, baked beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, toast, and a beverage such as coffee or tea. It appears in different regional variants and is referred to by different names depending on the area. While it is colloquially known as a “fry up” in most areas of the UK and Ireland, it is usually referred to as a “full English” (often “full English breakfast”), a “full Irish”, “full Scottish”, “full Welsh”, “full Cornish”, and “Ulster fry”, in England, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, and Northern Ireland, respectively.
It is so popular in Great Britain and Ireland that many cafes and pubs offer the meal at any time of day as an ‘all-day breakfast’. It is also popular in many Commonwealth nations. On its origin, Country Life magazine states, “The idea of the English breakfast as a national dish goes right back to the 13th century and the country houses of the gentry. In the old Anglo-Saxon tradition of hospitality, households would provide hearty breakfasts for visiting friends, relatives and neighbours.”
The fried breakfast became popular in Great Britain and Ireland during the Victorian era, and appears as one among many suggested breakfasts in home economist Isabella Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1861). Its popularity soared post-World War II and became a staple of the working class. The protein-centric full breakfast is often contrasted (e.g. on hotel menus) with the lighter, carbohydrate-based alternative of a continental breakfast.
The ‘traditional’ full English breakfast, treated as a dish rather than a meal, includes bacon (traditionally back bacon), fried, poached or scrambled eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread or buttered toast, and sausages. Black pudding, baked beans, and bubble and squeak are also often included. In the North Midlands, fried or grilled oatcakes sometimes replace fried bread. The food is traditionally served with tea or coffee, as well as fruit juices.
As nearly everything is fried in the British version of the meal, it is commonly known as a “fry-up”. As some of the items are optional, the phrase “full English breakfast”, or “full English” (or “Full Monty”) often specifically denotes a breakfast including everything on offer. The latter name became popular after World War II after British Army general Bernard Montgomery (nicknamed Monty) was said to have started every day with a full English breakfast when in the campaign in North Africa.
In Ireland, as elsewhere, the exact constituents of a full breakfast vary, depending on geographical area, personal taste and cultural affiliation. Traditionally, the most common ingredients in Ireland are bacon rashers, pork sausages, fried eggs (or scrambled or poached), white pudding, black pudding and fried tomato. Sautéed field mushrooms are also sometimes included, as well as baked beans, hash browns, liver, and brown soda bread. Fried potato farl, boxty or toast is sometimes served as an alternative to brown soda bread. Limerick in particular has a long-standing traditional association with pork-based meat products.
The so-called ‘breakfast roll’, consisting of elements of the full breakfast served in a French roll, has become popular in Ireland due to the fact it can be easily eaten on the way to school or work. The breakfast roll is available from many petrol stations and corner shops throughout Ireland.
The use of Irish Soda Bread, Irish white pudding and fried potato cake are classic differentiators in a Full Irish breakfast, and I am going to include recipes and sources below for everything you might want or need to serve this to your family or (very lucky) friends!
First off, you will want to purchase the raw materials for the full Irish – thankfully, there is a purveyor based here in the United States who makes all the needed meat products necessary! With recipes and seasonings that were first produced in the 1960’s in County Limerick, Ireland, the Tommy Moloney’s brand is famous near and far for its sausages and traditional Irish meats. Ireland is world-renowned for its commitment to Origin Green with a proven commitment to sustainability. Over the years many of Ireland’s popular hotels, supermarkets, restaurants and other catering establishments have been satisfying the appetites of valued customers with the distinctive flavor of Moloney’s traditional recipes and seasonings.
Black pudding is a blood sausage – before you turn your nose up at it, you should be aware it simply tastes delicious and not bloody at all! Buy it here.
White pudding is a delicious sausage, similar to the German weisswurst – you can buy it here.
Back bacon is NOTHING like American bacon, PLEASE don’t substitute it! You can grab it from the same quality supplier here.
You CANNOT have a proper full Irish breakfast without quality Irish sausages – thanks to Tommy Moloney’s again, they are available here.
Many connoisseurs, TFD included, insist not on British HP brown sauce to add zest to their breakfast, but rather the Irish spicy condiment known as YR sauce – you can buy it here.
My preferred recipe for proper Irish soda bread is here, and I include a recipe for Irish potato cakes below, as well as how to cook everything up properly! If you use ANY butter except Irish Kerrygold, know that you will be immediately excommunicated from TFD Nation AND I will enact a TERRIBLE DOOM UPON YOU! Just don’t do it, ok? 🙂
Citizens – this completes My recipe Trifecta for the day, please enjoy your holiday and treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself – it’s the TFD way!
Battle on – the GeneralissimoPrint
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