The Philosophy of Breakfast

Posted by September Blue Tuesday, 7 August 2007

(Miscellanea, Appleton's Journal, Nov. 27, 1875.)

The philosophy of breakfast seems to be a perplexing one. According to some theories it is best to take a light nip just after waking, and sit down to a substantial meal after a lapse of two or three hours. The Sanitary Board (English) sanctions our American custom of a substantial meal soon after rising:

Let a healthy man really "break" his "fast" with a substantial meal, and not break his breakfast with irritating little nips or slops beforehand. After the stomach has at its leisure emptied itself, during sleep, of its contents, and sent them to repair the worn tissues and exhausted nerve-force, and the blood has been ventilated and purified by washing and dressing with the window open, then is the time when the most perfect of all nutritive articles, farinaceous food, can be consumed in largest quantities with advantage. Butter also, and fat and sugar, troublesome customers to weak digestions, are then easily coped with, and contribute their invaluable aid to performing duties of the day. For example, many persons can drink milk to a fair and useful amount at breakfast, with whom it disagrees at other hours. And the widely-advertised "breakfast bacon" by its name warns the customer against indulgence later on in the day. Cafe au lait and sweet, creamy tea are to many men poisonous in the afternoon, though in the prime of the morning they are a wholesome beverage to the same individuals.

Let the vigor, good-humor, and refreshment, then felt by a healthy man, be utilized without delay in eating a hearty meal immediately after he is dressed, and not frittered away in the frivolities of other occupations. Let not reading, writing, or business – muscular, political, or economical – exhaust the nervous system. The newspaper and letters should not be opened, preferably not delivered, till the appetite is thoroughly appeased.
In that grand tradition, this recent Guardian piece on
"It started," says [Malcolm] Eggs, editor of the London Review of Breakfasts, "with a terrible gastropub breakfast. These people just didn't know how to cook my favourite meal. We had to take a stand." [...] What should the ideal breakfast be like? "Among the follies of empire were those long breakfasts where you ate so much you risked killing yourself. They sounded great."

1 Responses to The Philosophy of Breakfast

  1. Laz Says:
  2. "Among the follies of empire were those long breakfasts where you ate so much you risked killing yourself. They sounded great."

    I heartily agree.