My first meeting with truly Irish cuisine was when I started working as a breakfast chef. I was very surprised when I saw the menu. There were ten meals to choose but only two were healthy and light. I was scared. The head chef showed me Full Irish Breakfast. There was a plate with fat and fried food, even tomatoes were baked. I was really surprised. I know, in Poland we serve heavy breakfast but with a wide selection of vegetables and fruit. Irish breakfast is not only heavy but also unhealthy. After the first day in that restaurant, I understood why so many Irish people are so obese.
Irish breakfast is the result of famine in Ireland. Farmers normally ate only one warm meal a day in the morning before work. Breakfast rich in fat and calories was a source of energy until the evening, when they returned home to eat an evening meal.
The traditional Irish breakfast consists of some components which are fried in deep fat or baked in the oven. Traditionally the most common ingredients are
fried or grilled bacon, also referred to as "rashers" or "slices", baked beans,
black or white pudding, fried mushrooms, sausages, fried or grilled tomatoes and hash browns. Eggs, fried, poached, or scrambled are very important ingredients of this breakfast. Full Irish breakfast may be accompanied by strong Irish Breakfast tea such as Barry's Tea, Lyons Tea, or Bewley's, and it is always served with milk. Fried potato bread, or toast, is often served as an alternative to brown soda bread or French toast.
This meal is very fat and high-calorie - not least because in recent times, there has been a variety of mutations, such as the vegetarian version. Juice and porridge are also not traditional for this type of breakfast. They have been served since the 1950s of the twentieth century. Due to the relatively time-consuming procedure for preparing breakfast, in recent years the fast food version has become very popular: a roll (which looks like a small French stick) filled with the selected components of the traditional Full Irish Breakfast. This sandwich can be purchased at many bars, grocery shops and petrol stations.
In restaurants, pubs, cafés, bars or even petrol stations you can find Full Irish Breakfast. However, in travel guidebooks or on postcards from Ireland you can see pictures with other Irish Breakfast – a plate full of oysters served with a glass of Guinness. So, I have looked for this type of breakfast in restaurants and pubs but I have never found it. The Irish have a great sense of humor and a good knowledge of marketing strategy.