The Origin of Breakfast | Diogo Silva Santos
Where does eating breakfast originate from?
A question most of us don't think too much about (maybe because we are too sleepy to pose such hard questions before the breakfast coffee) but one that historian Ian Mortimer decided to investigate.
There are lots of historic reports about great royal banquets; elaborate dinners; the aristocratic conversations around tea time; and explanations about the much needed etiquette during all these events. But there isn’t much information about breakfast in those days, as observed by Mortimer.
According to his research, during the Middle-Ages most people didn't eat breakfast as the noble folk had the power to decide who was entitled to have it. Even around 1470, in the Duchess of York's estates, the first meal of the day was only allowed to officers (to their wives when the husbands were present), to the Dean of the Chapel and to the kitchen's manager.
Consuming dairy products started to be part of a morning routine from the 16th century onwards. Butter became the star of the breakfast with various herbs added over time to 'extend the flavour and its properties'. Doctor and writer Andrew Boorde, in 1542, recommended that a working man should eat three times a day, including breakfast. Whilst for other people two meals were enough. Special breakfast recipes were prescribed as a treatment for some diseases and to older people.
During the Industrial Revolution, workers needed an early meal to sustain the hard work. At the turn of the 20th century, the American John Harvey Kellogg revolutionised breakfast in a way that is even felt nowadays! After World War II, American toasters, sliced bread and instant coffee became part of a breakfast recipe used by many in the Western world today. Culturally however breakfast varies greatly.
Hopefully this historical research will make all of us look to breakfast differently, giving it the importance it deserves in our daily routine.
What will you eat for yours tomorrow?