Monday, 14 April 2008

The Full Scottish...........

I finally got round to reading Saturday's Guardian in bed last night, which included a pull out section on The Great British Breakfast, or to be more specific, the Great British Fry-Up.

Pages and pages of recommendations for the best places up and down the length and breadth of the country, which can serve up a Full English at the drop of a fiver.

Now I'm sure that all fry-up aficionados have very specific ideas about what should constitute the perfect specimen. I have just discussed this briefly, in the interests of investigative blogging, with Perfectionist Partner, who was aghast at my suggestion that chips might be an essential ingredient. But she would definitely include beans, and there we are at odds.

I won't go into the pros and cons here, but suffice to say the author of the piece made a cogent case for the inclusion of chips, as they are excellent for soaking up the bean juice.

Fair point, well made.

Passing mention was made to breakfasts other than the ubiquitous Full English, but I feel I have to take issue with the description of the Full Scottish.

This institution is probably partly responsible for the plague of morbid obesity currently rampaging north of the border, but I feel that I should attempt a defence of this artery-clogging, cholesterol-raising, waistline-bulging behemoth of a meal.

I have fond memories of Sunday mornings as a child, waking to the mouth-watering sizzlings coming from the kitchen.

We wouldn't have this EVERY Sunday. Even my mother, in those days of fried food nirvana, when anything fried was considered healthy, balked at the notion of feeding us a Full Scottish more than say, once a month.

Actually, I used to think, as I waddled away from the breakfast table, that I probably wouldn't need another meal for a month, let alone breakfast, but that is by the by.

In the interests of truth, I therefore submit our family's version of the Full Scottish,
  • Bacon - preferably unsmoked, thick cut and fried till crispy
  • Lorne sausage - this is a square cut sausage which is hard to find outside Scotland but well worth the search.
  • Fried egg
  • Slice of fried bread - this has to be white bread, thick cut and fried in dripping or lard.
  • OR Slice of French Toast - this is bread dipped in beaten egg, milk, salt and pepper then fried, naturally
  • Drop scone - small, round, sweet pancake, fried
  • Potato scone - triangle of floury potato cake, fried
  • Black pudding - cut from a long sausage shape, fried
  • Dumpling - also hard to find south of the border but basically a fruit pudding in a sausage shape, fried
  • Half a tomato - fried
  • Button mushrooms - fried
Yes. Really.

And yes, it was quite filling.

As a health concession we usually didn't have chips or beans, unless this feast was served at tea-time (or as you say down south - dinner time) in which case they would be served as an accompaniment.

Actually, looking at the list it has just occurred to me that just about the only non-sausage shaped ingredient is the sausage, which is square. Strange that.

Of course you didn't have to have it all, there were options, but we usually all had a fairly good stab at it. Oh and I forgot to mention that it was offered with a range of condiments, notably, brown sauce, tomato ketchup and/or mustard.

And washed down with huge mugs of sweet tea. Or if we were feeling especially sophisticated, orange juice.

Hand on heart (yes it is still beating, just) ALL of those ingredients made up one of my mum's all day breakfasts, so called, not because they were available all day, but because they filled you up all day.


Usually we would regain the use of our legs by around midday, and could trot outside to work off some of the zillion calories ingested in that one meal.

Of course if any readers of this blog have any more extravagant versions of breakfast, I'd be glad to hear from you.

I tried to find a photo to set your taste buds tingling but this is the best I could come up with. It's frankly Lilliputian compared to my mum's towering platters. And it includes beans, which as I said, we didn't include. Possibly because of their vegetable origins but more likely because the bean juice ran everywhere and got mixed up with everything and we were a family who liked strictly segregated ingredients, especially in breakfasts. However it's the nearest I could find.


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