IT'S THE WEEKEND:How breakfast should be done
Pontypool RFC player David Davies says his ideal breakfast is porridge, fruit and a large glass of milk (980671)
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and everyone has an opinion on how it should be done. Jen Mills tucks in.
IS IT the thought of scrambled eggs on toast with lashings of butter than gets you up on a Sunday morning? Maybe it’s craving a caffeine hit that has you reaching for the teasmade or rolling out of the duvet towards the kitchen and the kettle. Either way, there’s something special about a weekend breakfast.
Yet often neglected and maligned, many see breakfast as the first corner to cut on a weekday when they’re running late, or trying to sneak a few calories into the bank. At the weekend, however, it is a leisurely treat, a ritual for many as the designated chef conducts the fry-up or current affairs fans discuss the morning papers.
We found out how people in Gwent celebrate the event that is breakfast.
A straw poll of Gwenties suggests that the favoured option is, unsurprisingly, the fried breakfast. This dish is referred to by some as a ‘Full English’, but this misnomer does a disservice to its stronghold in Wales, where we might equally call it a ‘Full Welsh’. The tradition of a fried breakfast developed across Britain during the Victorian era, when wealthy landowners would feast on a full breakfast with the day’s papers. During the days of Empire luxuries such as coffee and sugar were becoming more common, so we can thank those characters in crinolines and shirt-tails for passing down a breakfast for all of Britain, whatever we might think of their politics more generally.
If you take offence at that ‘full English’ tag and want a patriotic breakfast, traditional Welsh fare might include lavabread or Glamorgan sausage (veggie friendly, made from leek, cheese and breadcrumbs). Of course, there’s also the option of sourcing your meat and vegetables locally, which is likely to be better for the environment and for the animals in question, as well as for you yourself.
Rugby player David Davies, 28, a back with Pontypool RFC, has to watch what he eats in case it affects his performance. He said: “My girlfriend’s a dietician so she can help me plan out what I have. I normally eat pretty healthily anyway. I have porridge and I always try and have a bit of fresh fruit first thing in the day. I have a lot of water and make sure I stay hydrated. Before a match I’ll have porridge, as it’s slow releasing. I tend not to have coffee before a match as it can repeat on you a bit, but have juices with natural sugars. I’ll have toast now and again – I always stick to brown bread. I drink a lot of milk. I always have cereal with plenty of milk and I always make porridge with milk.
“I can’t have a fried breakfast. We get told, “Don’t stuff yourself on a fried breakfast before a match!” And we wouldn’t drink the night before. Me personally, I’ve cut down a lot on the drink in the last couple of years. It affects you for a couple of days afterwards.”
Newport councillor Matthew Evans said he also tried to eat healthily although he had a weakness for a fried breakfast: “I must confess I’m not allowed to have it every weekend, but the special weekend treat would probably consist of cereal and fruit as a starter, with strong coffee and orange juice. At the moment it’s strawberries or blueberries. They do taste much nicer with Rice Krispies or Cornflakes, rather than low calorie concoctions which taste of cardboard. I’m not allowed Cocoa-Pops.”
For a second course, it has to be The Full Monty: “Locally sourced sausages, thick sliced rashers of bacon, grilled to be a little bit healthier, mushrooms and tomatoes to get part of the ‘Five a Day’ in. I do prefer thick sliced bread and real butter, which I know is the height of decadence. And there must be two eggs – and they must be runny. They’re usually fried because I’m not very good at poaching I’m afraid.
“I used to read the papers but I tend to look at emails on my BlackBerry now. I have the news on in the background.”
He added: “I can’t think of anything worse than the French continental style croissants, full of saturated fat, or cold cheese or ham.”
Bethan Ford, a drama teacher at Llanwern High School, prefers a sweeter option for the weekend, going for “home-made pancakes with lemon and sugar and a pot of coffee - always white, lots of milk. Plus a lump of brown sugar if I've had a glass or two of wine the night before!”
Frank Sheahan, who runs the West Usk Lighthouse bed and breakfast along with wife Danielle, says that his customers demand a full fried breakfast and that’s what he gives them. “What I use for the guests is fairly traditional. Free range eggs done any way they’d like them – poached, scrambled or fried. Then I would use fresh tomatoes from the vine. I personally use Welsh sausages, Edwards sausages, usually pork with black pepper. Then there’s optional baked beans and fresh mushrooms. Beans have got to be Heinz. Nothing else works I’m afraid and people do know the difference. There’s a wide mix of cereals and toast of course, brown or white. I use the seeded batch.
“I like a good fry-up but I can’t have it every day or I’d be way, way overweight. Before we took on the B&B it was always my job to cook a fry-up for my wife and me - a nice English breakfast. Sometimes I’d take it to my wife in bed but those days are gone!”
Breakfast isn’t all a sausage-fest though. There are lots of veggie readers who had some great ideas for meat-free options. Zoe West said her favourite weekend breakfast was “homemade mixed chilli beans, avocado, sourdough toast and roasted garlic tomatoes with a side of watercress while Katy Souter said her ideal treat is “tomatoes on toast made with garlic oil and balsamic vinegar and finished with fresh herbs.”
Anna, general manager at Mezza Luna Lebanese restaurant, said: “We love Middle Eastern veggie breakfast, labneh (strained yoghurt) with olive oil and za'atar and khobz (Arabic bread)”.
Helen Gwilliam, near Chepstow, likes a traditional cooked breakfast – but vegan style. She said: “My favourite breakfast is a full cooked with scrambled tofu, potato rosti, beans, vegan sausage, baby tomatoes with thyme and mushrooms with toast, I also love blueberry pancakes, huge green smoothies using dandelions from my garden, I also love a vegan egg and bacon sandwich using sliced tofu and Cheatin' Bacon slices. I also love making a vegetable omelette using chick pea flour!”
But Steve Williams, from Newport, said bacon is best: “You can't beat a good 'ol Bacon Sarnie, brown sauce, white bread, bread must be buttered... Fresh bread so they collapse as you dig in. Toasties have to be leaking cheese, but not for brekkie.”
There’s not quite a consensus, but everyone can agree breakfast should be bountiful. So if you’re reading this at the table, bon appétit!
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