The most important meal of the day

Most of the places we’ve stayed in the last three weeks have been Bed & Breakfasts. As a result, we developed some strong feelings about breakfast as the trip progressed.

The first place we stayed in London offered cold cereal, juice, yogurt, toast, cheese, tea or coffee and a selection of cold lunchmeats. After three days of that we went to Italy where we were on our own for breakfast for the first few days near Dicomano in Tuscany. No problem, we’d just head into the little village to get our morning dose of cappuccino and something to eat. In Italy, however, breakfast is typically small and usually consists of just croissants (often called brioche) or small sweet rolls. This is a nice change, but by the end of the week we were really craving something more substantial; we wanted to sink our teeth into some serious protein and starch.

This desire was soon met when we returned to England and were introduced to the “Full English breakfast”: eggs, back bacon, sausage, beans, mushrooms, half a fried tomato, toast and – yum – Marmite. (I can’t imagine anyone liking Marmite, but somebody must because they seem to make an awful lot of it, and awful is the right word.)

This was great for the first week or so. Then we discovered that the “Full Scottish Breakfast” and “Full Irish Breakfast” offered at our later stays were very, very much like the “Full English breakfast.” It was enough to make you logy just thinking about it. At one place in Bo’ Ness, Scotland our hostess made the mistake of asking us the night before what we’d like for breakfast. Immediately the girls piped up:

“Pancakes!”
“French Toast!”
“Anything but bacon and eggs!”

The poor woman had no idea what French Toast was, and seemed dubious at the recipe that was offered, but thought she could handle pancakes. The next morning that was what we got, and they were a refreshing change, especially served with “Lyle’s Golden Syrup.” I don’t know just what this syrup comes from, but it’s not maple trees. Still it was sweet, sticky and tasted good, if a bit fruity.

The breakfasts also usually came with a selection of cold cereals, which is a pretty common way for us to start our day at home. In Ireland, however, my wife and the Mall Diva discovered a new cereal: Wheatabix. They love this and don’t think they’ve ever seen it in the states. They both surreptiously slipped sealed individual packages of these dense, palm-sized wheat bricks into their bags this morning at our last “Full English Breakfast” before departing.

Tomorrow: bagels!

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