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What is a Full Breakfast?

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English breakfast
Neil Langan Uk/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Question: What is a Full Breakfast?
Throughout Britain and Ireland the Full breakfast is popular. It is not now eaten everyday but saved for weekends and vacations. The term full comes from the fact the breakfast is, well, full of different food stuffs as you can read about below.
Answer: The full breakfast is traditionally served at breakfast time, but it is also popular at other times, usually replacing lunch. Rarely is it now served every day of the week, reserved instead for the weekend or on vacation in hotels and Bed and Breakfasts, where no stay would be complete without one.

Breakfast may begin with orange juice, cereals, stewed or fresh fruits but the heart of the Full breakfast is bacon and eggs. They are variously accompanied by sausages, grilled tomato, mushrooms, tea, toast and marmalade.

Each country in the UK and Ireland also have their own choice of accompaniments, it is up to the individual just how much they want on their plate and their preferences. You may find the following:
  • A Full English Breakfast may have Black Pudding, Baked Beans and Fried Bread.
  • A Full Scottish, as above but may also have, Potato Scones (Tattie Scones), Haggis and Oatcakes.
  • A Full Irish – Again, as above but may also have White Pudding and Soda Bread.
  • A Full Welsh – Laver bread or laver cakes. These are neither bread or cakes but are made with seaweed, the cakes seaweed cooked with oatmeal.
  • An Ulster Fry is not dissimilar to a Full English but may also have soda bread and is served again, throughout the day.


The origins of the breakfast are unclear and believed to originate in the rural England as a sustaining meal to carry workers through a long morning.

Other Popular Dishes for a Traditional Breakfast
As if all that food isn't enough according to a recent report from Market Kitchen there are up to 40 interchangeable items in a British and Irish breakfast:

Sausages, bacon, eggs (scrambled/buttered/rumbled/poached egg/fried), black pudding, eggy bread, crumpets, kippers, bubble and squeak, jolly boys (pancakes), onions (fried or rings) corned beef hash, devilled kidneys, kedgeree, omelette, fried bread, toast, Derbyshire oatcakes, English muffins, tomatoes (grilled, fried), mushrooms, hash browns, baked beans, potato scones/tattie scones, Arbroath smokies, bannocks, butteries/rowies (lard-based bread roll), herring, haggis, Lorne (square Scottish) sausage, white pudding, laver bread, Penclawdd cockles, Glamorgan (vegetarian) sausage, Crempog (Welsh pancakes), wheaten bread, potato farl and potato pancakes.

Other names for Breakfast
Though a ‘Full Breakfast’ is universally known and understood other terms used include - A Fry Up, A Full Monty, and in Ireland it is sometimes known as a Chub.
And to drink?
A cup of tea is a popular and traditional drink with breakfast, though coffee is also served.

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