The English Breakfast: The Biography of a National Meal, with Recipes

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Bloomsbury Academic, Jun 6, 2013 - History - 376 pages
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The English breakfast is one of the best-loved national meals in the world, an edible symbol of England and Englishness. But how did breakfast attain this distinction, what can a national meal tell us about the nation that eats it, what are the links between social and culinary change, and is there more to the English breakfast than bacon and eggs?

This biography of the English breakfast shows how the renowned meal came into being over many centuries, reaching its height in the Victorian and Edwardian eras when splendid breakfasts were served from silver dishes in grand country houses across the land. Following this historical analysis are three authentic and complete cookbooks devoted entirely to breakfasts from the heyday of this best of all meals, with some 500 recipes by three celebrated culinary figures of the Victorian age - an elite hostess, a thrifty housekeeper, and a pukka colonial colonel - before the narrative continues up to the present. The epilogue, new to this paperback edition, covers 'the devolved breakfast' (Scottish, Welsh and Irish); the renaissance of the full breakfast during financial crises and the working class 'caff'.

Mixing anthropology, cultural biography, the invention of tradition and the study of cookbooks as social documents, The English Breakfast is a truly unique work of food history.

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About the author (2013)

Kaori O'Connor is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology, UCL, UK.

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