I'm writing this entry early in the morning in a motel room in Pennsylvania, a little over halfway home from our Christmas trip to the Michigan in-laws. I'm munching on an apple, because I cannot abide having an empty stomach, but I'm craving the big breakfast I'll no doubt have once the rest of the family have woken up, showered and we look for somewhere to eat. There's coffee, bagels and muffins available in the lobby, but that's not going to cut it for me.
My vegetarian friends may now leave the room before I launch into the really offensive stuff.
What I'm really craving is meat. What I'm really craving is that beast known as the Full English Breakfast.
There are some excellent breakfast choices available in this part of the country. I'm rather partial to biscuits smothered in sausage gravy (a note for our British Friends - a biscuit is rather similar to a scone, perhaps a little fluffier, and sausage gravy is a thick, creamy sauce full of crumbled sausage). But the Americans, much as they seem to enjoy their meat, don't really get the British love of having more than one meat on your plate at the same time. See, the "F.E.B." usually contains bacon and sausage; in fact, for those hardcore fans amongst us, it should also include black pudding. For those who still are blissfully unaware of what black pudding is, it's a blood sausage. Very rich, very fatty, very unhealthy, and of course very tasty. But even when you find a selection of "fry-ups" listed on a menu, you can get eggs done in a multitude of ways, maybe biscuits, hash browns, etc., with bacon or sausage. Usually, if you want both sausage and bacon, you have to order one as part of your meal, and the other as a side.
So, what I really want (and will probably only get in the US if I make it myself) is one fried egg, over-easy (so the yoke is runny but the white is not slimy), bacon, sausage, black pudding, baked beans, fried tomato, fried bread and fried mushroom. Yep, heart-attack on a plate.
There are a few compromises that have to be made if you're craving the F.E.B. but living in the U.S. The bacon usually available here is sliced really thin and very fatty. It's really only good for crumbling into something for flavor. I generally go for sweet Italian sausages, but while good, they're not the same as a good British banger. Baked beans over here are generally over-sweet, and contain a lump of fatty pork; In the US, Heinz do "Vegetarian Baked Beans", which is about as close as you'll get to the beans that Heinz make for the Brits.
I'll probably write more about tea in another entry, but as a great British tea-drinker, at home I'd usually make myself a cuppa to drink with the fry-up. Tetley makes "British Blend" teabags which are pretty good. I would drink coffee if I was having breakfast at a restaurant, because most places can't make tea properly.
And, if consuming this in England, with egg-yoke running down our chins we'd probably be berating the Americans for being obese.
I'm perfectly aware that this artery-hardening breakfast is not exactly the healthy option. And I certainly would not eat it every morning. Probably not even once a week. But as a rare treat, it's precisely that - a rare treat!
So, in the interests of full-disclosure, I should also point out this article from the Times of London.