Thank you for breakfast, England

Loaded with fried and fatty deliciousness, the Full English Breakfast is most definitely the father of the American diner breakfast. 

Both are widely available, often around the clock, and full of staples more filling than nutritious. In fact, the British seem to have a complex about their love of a good fry-up that surpasses the stereotype of Americans as McDonald’s-loving slobs. 

I’d propose that the McDonald’s stereotype comes from the same place as the Coca-Cola stereotype: both are successful American brands that have had even more success in the foreign market. Europeans love McDonald’s and then feel as bad about it as we do. 

History shows us however that the classic artery-buster lives on in unbranded form with no need for marketing. Fat is its own marketing. 

Compare the core ingredients:

Full English

  • Two fried eggs 
  • Back bacon 
  • Rashers (sausages)
  • Hash browns 
  • Toast 
  • Grilled tomato 
  • Mushrooms 
  • Coffee 


  • Two fried eggs 
  • Bacon, sausage or ham 
  • Pancakes with syrup or 
  • Hash browns and Toast 
  • Coffee 
  • Orange juice 
  • Fresh fruit if you’re lucky 

Note the similarities: eggs, fatty meat, fried potatoes, coffee. We can thank Peru for the spuds and Ethiopia for the beans, I guess. Four centuries are enough to make them both a staple of half the countries on the globe. 

Interestingly, instead of fresh fruit, the English variety has tomatoes. Hey, tomato is  a fruit, right?

Perhaps the “super-size” started with US diner coffee, strong European roast being substituted for the watery American free-refill variety. 

It’s not all lacking in quality however. The American breakfast plate incorporates syrup, real maple ideally, from Vermont, New York, Quebec, and orange juice, fresh-squeezed California or Florida if you’re lucky.

Drawing its inspiration from around the globe, this classic American meal is uniting in its ubiquity, not only a working man’s meal like its progenitors in the Old World, and it is here to stay, at least for add long as we’re around to eat it. 


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