I don’t agree with William about tea, because that comes before coffee for me. However, the rest is true.

Simple but sustaining.

Porridge was on the 3rd class breakfast menu aboard the Titanic……among much else. Good grief, I wonder what those in 1st class were offered? Probably quails’ eggs and caviar.

Now here’s a strange thing. Why is it that when I become a tourist I abandon my  bowl of porridge  and begin each day by demolishing a titanic size breakfast myself? At the basest level I fear it is because the meal is often included in the  hotel tariff and I feel I should get my money’s worth.  On a higher plane, I  need the extra fuel to drive me on the ceaseless round of cathedrals and museums.

The full English breakfast served at B&B’s throughout  the UK remains wonderfully unhealthy, with fried eggs served on fried bread alongside sausages and very fat bacon. It would never occur to me to order anything else.  The only problem lies in having the meal served before  9.00am. This is fine for the natives  who are happy to drain their teapots and motor gently away at 10.30 but we Aussies like to have a couple of hundred kilometres under our belts by then.

Some years ago Rob and I were in Blackpool to see the illuminations and after lengthy   negotiations  it was agreed we could have breakfast next morning at the ungodly hour of 7.30. All went well until our bleary eyed chef began  to fry the bacon. Unfortunately he forgot to put the fan on,  setting off the smoke alarm.  The next twenty minutes were total chaos.  A little later we met the manager in an upstairs corridor; “I do apologize for that disturbance,’  he said.   ‘Some guests  just have to push  the boundaries!” We smiled understandingly and quietly slipped away.

Soon afterwards we  travelled to  the Continent, where  hotel breakfasts are often  incredible buffets of cold meats, salads, cheeses, fancy breads , pastries and cooked food of every description.

Continental Spread

It was  absolute heaven! One morning in Prague, as a little ‘starter’, I filled a bowl with yogurt and a selection of cereals  then spotted some stewed plums sitting incongruously between dishes of potato salad and coleslaw.  I had spooned several onto my plate when Rob appeared beside me and said with horror;  “What are you doing?  They’re baby beetroots!”

I considered putting them back, but they  were covered in puffed rice and rolled oats.  I even considered forcing them down  pretending I’d meant to do it, but I’ve always detested beetroot. In the end I decided to hide the bowl behind a milk jug and start again.

Many   elderly, but enterprising  ladies  have been known to exist entirely on  generous breakfasts,  particularly  in expensive cities such as Vienna.  They become as deft as professional shop-lifters at  dropping croissants and pots of yogurt  into the open jaws of their  handbags.

Considering I have a severe allergy to preservatives I did take a  few risks with my foreign diet. Goodness knows  what  lurked within the frankfurters and bratwurst sausages I was packing away with my scrambled eggs.  However, there were no  ill effects and I happily ate my way from   Hungary to La Belle France.  It was quite an anticlimax to arrive back  in London and sit down to a bowl of bran flakes and sultanas.  “Never mind”, I told Rob. “At least this is healthy.”  Half an hour later I was   rushed to hospital by  ambulance with an oxygen mask on my face and a drip in my arm.  It appears  my ten day European  spree  had   topped  me up with preservatives and a minute trace   in the sultanas  tipped the balance!

Completely recovered but sadder and wiser, I was condemned to a week on wholemeal toast. Thank heavens  Vegemite is available at Tesco’s.


Of course in the sixties the most wonderful breakfast for babyboomer like myself arrived on a tray slid through a hatch in motel rooms. Oh the joy of ticking off selections the night before, then waiting with anticipation for the knock on the door and the sound of the hatch opening.

Motel breakfast 1960s

For me, the most enjoyable breakfasts are those demolished after having to fast for blood tests. I seem to have more of these the older I get! Forget porridge then. This is when I indulge in one of my favourite foods……prosciutto, topped with a fried egg….sunny side up.

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