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Breakfast: What the World Wakes Up to

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June 7, 2014 / Breakfast / By
Nicola

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, because it gives us all the energy we need to take on life's challenges. Starting off with a good breakfast can even help people who are trying to lose or maintain their weight, as it prevents snacking throughout the day. Everyone has their own early morning favourites, but traditional breakfasts vary widely around the world. What is it exactly that our international friends enjoy to give them sustenance to face the day?

Generally speaking, there are three main types of breakfast which are recognised internationally: the American, the English and the Continental. Staples such as cereals, toast, fruit and yoghurt are commonplace in each area, but they all have their own specialities, as well.

Starting in the West, America is well known for its large portions and lashings of flavour. Their breakfasts are no different! Pancakes with maple syrup have made the journey from over the border in Canada to become a breakfast favourite - and they're even better when accompanied by crispy bacon! Most self-respecting eateries will even offer other tasty options for breakfast such as waffles. Sweeter is better when it comes to American breakfasts, and most options are definitely hearty and filling enough to see the eater through the morning!

Very popular in southern areas of the U.S. are biscuits and gravy. The meaning of the words 'biscuits' and 'gravy' vary around the world - in some places, 'biscuits' are sweet, baked, cookie type snacks, and 'gravy' is the thick, meaty sauce served with roast meats. However, in this context, biscuits and gravy are essentially scone-like cakes, served with a sauce flavoured with sausage chunks. This is a breakfast dish which is almost unheard of outside of the United States, so finding ingredients to replicate it can be difficult. Clearly, this is a very popular breakfast dish which is typical to the U.S.

Often, when staying at hotels, a 'continental breakfast' will be on the menu, but what does it really mean? Unsurprisingly, it stems from Europe (often referred to as 'the Continent'). In hotels this type of breakfast is usually offered with a range of cereal, toast, fruit and yoghurt. However, traditional continental breakfasts include a selection of cold meats, along with various cheeses, pastries such as croissants and pains au chocolat, and slightly more exotic fruits than the standard apple and orange selection that hotels have. These items are much more in-line with the traditional morning meal from countries such as Italy and France.

Somewhere in the middle (both geographically and food-wise) is Britain, home of the full English breakfast. It is similar to typical American breakfasts in that it is served warm, but meat ingredients play a much more prominent role, like in Europe. A full English breakfast always includes fried egg and bacon, and different establishments serve it with a combination of hash browns (fried shredded potato patties), baked beans, tomato, fried mushrooms, toast and sausages. It's true - in England, cooked meats which are usually served as an evening meal are served for breakfast, too. One thing's for certain: the full English breakfast isn't small. It's certainly not for the faint-hearted!

It's clear to see that breakfasts vary greatly around the world. Moving further East would bring out even more weird and wonderful delicacies, but that's a post for another day! When the traditional options for breakfast vary from sweet, doughy mixtures, to grains, to both hot and cold meats, it's no surprise that breakfast has become such an important meal of the day - or such a popular one!

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