Britain is big on tradition, from the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace (I can still remember seeing the soldiers going through the same carefully laid-out movements that they had done for decades) to their breakfast. Cereals play a big part, as they have for about as long as those guards have been changing.
Hot cereals are popular despite more Brits saving time these days in their busy lives by having cold cereal instead. In 2009, they collectively spent almost ₤2 billion on all kinds of breakfast cereals. Brit rocker Ozzy Osbourne even has his favorite British breakfast cereal shipped to him when he spends time in his Los Angeles mansion.
One of the better known here in the U.S. is Weetabix, which can actually be enjoyed both hot and cold. Oatmeal, also called porridge and porage (the old Scottish word poray combined with the French word potage), is another favorite, eaten either alone or as an entrée to what is called a “full English” breakfast. A big brand in the UK is Scott’s with packaging art portraying a husky kilt-wearing Scotsman getting ready to heave that metal ball out over a distant loch (lake). Another is Flahavan’s, both plain and with fruits and flavorings added, and with less dramatic packaging but contents just as tasty.
Scott’s has been around since 1880, went through various ups and downs, including a factory fire in 1928 (that kept them out of production for a mere seven weeks), and ownership changes. In 1982, 102 years later, the company was purchased by Quaker Oats, a brand familiar to consumers in the U.S. They expanded the market to include not just the UK but also France, Scandinavian countries, and the Far East.
Flahavan’s is a favorite in Ireland but is also popular in the UK. The company has been around for over 200 years, providing the energy needed to endure the sometimes harsh Winters, with winds blowing in from the northern waters. Their Pinhead Oatmeal is perfect for recipes such as bread, biscuits, and others needing a bit more “heft.”
All of these are chock full of stuff that a bunch of smart doctors out there say are good for us. Things like fiber, low fat and salt, lots of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins such as niacin, B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), and Folic Acid, and even some iron.
Boil up a big pot of oats in either milk or water (some kinds can also be microwaved), add your favorite flavoring such as cinnamon, raisins, and brown sugar, and enjoy a big bowlful followed up by an authentic “full English” breakfast:
- 1-2 fried eggs (if you want to be authentic, keep the yolk runny and serve sunny side up)
- 2-3 sausages (cooked so they are evenly browned and crisp on the outside while still tender inside)
- A rasher or two of good crisp bacon
- Some mushrooms sautéed in butter
- Freshly grilled tomatoes, or you can substitute stewed ones
- Fried bread or slices of black pudding
- Some baked beans in tomato sauce
Don’t forget a steaming pot of breakfast tea, something nice and hearty and that can take milk well. You’ll be fueled up for your busy day. Enjoy!
© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.