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Thread: Breakfast rituals

  1. #1
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    Talking Breakfast rituals

    The (second) breakfast of champions


    photo: DPA

    Roger Boyes, the Berlin correspondent for the British newspaper The Times, explores the more mystifying rituals of Teutonic breakfast culture.

    Germany is governed by ritual, as strange and as rigid as those in Japan. However, instead of the oriental tea-ceremony, the Germans have the “Second Breakfast.” Usually this is an elegantly packed, lovingly unpacked Leberwurstbrot, which must be consumed between 9:30 and 10 am.

    The other day I went to the bakers for a cup of coffee and found that I had to balance my cup and my Fleischsalat (only Germans could come up with something called “meat salad” to put on your toast) on the very edge of a table because the place was full of orange-glowing rubbish collectors, carpenters and gardeners. A bus driver popped by and so did the policemen who should have been keeping an eye on the local Jewish memorial.

    “Aha,” said one customer, “you celebrate Bergfest too?” Mountains give me nightmares – I have long argued for making Bavaria flat – so I didn’t understand the reference. Apparently the Bergfest, and my apologies to readers who have always known this, is celebrated at 12 o’clock on Wednesday because it is the summit of the working week. From then on, it is all downhill towards the well-deserved weekend.

    Fine, I thought, I have learned something new. But the next day, while walking the dog, I noticed that all my fellow workweek mountaineers were sitting in their trucks eating Leberwurst on bread at precisely 9:30 am. It was like that irritating television advertisement for that midmorning snack Knoppers: “Mornings at half past nine in Germany!” It’s almost as if the stomachs of the whole German population have been programmed to rumble since their first Pausenbrot at school. How many calories does a German labourer need? How many Puddingbretzel have to be consumed before he can successfully check your tyre pressure or fix your sink? How many hours does he spend actually working?

    There are even regional takes on this second breakfast culture. In Plattdeutsch, or Low German, it’s called Fofftein. We can deduce from the word that the North German spends no more than fifteen minutes on his Brotzeit. The Berliner, according to my investigations, takes 45 minutes. Perhaps a certain Bundesbank director could do the appropriate calculation to see how much time is crumbling away every month. Germany seems convinced that it has made the giant leap into a service society – shopping until 9 pm on Fridays! But it is still held back by archaic routines such as this second breakfast. Or have you ever tried to ring a plumber at 10:15 a.m.?

    The answer – obviously – is to introduce the Anglo-Saxon model. The priority of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new government has to be to persuade the nation to eat the full English breakfast every morning. Scrambled or fried egg, baked beans, grilled tomato, two sausages, mushrooms, fried bread. Tea with milk. Cornflakes or porridge. The resulting boost in productivity should put Germany firmly on the path to growth.

    Now, you don’t have to be a top dietician to work out the problem with the English breakfast. It was devised in the Industrial Revolution to give workers the 3,000 calories they needed to dig in the coal mines; by four o’clock, they had burned up the energy and were ready for teatime. But you don’t burn 3,000 calories by working in a call centre. So, there is the risk of getting fat. Not, though, if you use high quality ingredients and eat in moderation. In that case, the breakfast can do you nothing but good. Organic eggs, home-made bread, grilled bio-tomatoes, meaty tight-skinned sausages.

    Britain is full of happy octogenarians who have eaten the bacon-and-egg breakfast all their lives, all fitter than I am. Germans should convert now to get the nation’s proverbial intestines chugging. Who knows – maybe soon you will be able to get your washing machine fixed in the Fatherland at 9:30 am.
    http://www.thelocal.de/opinion/20091207-23789.html
    "I just ran out of ammo. I will ram this one. Good bye, we'll meet in Valhalla." - Major Heinrich Ehrler, April 4, 1945

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Breakfast rituals

    Fleischsalat actually sounds pretty good.gdcom_2081_43148772.jpg
    "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." - Ronald Reagan

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    Default Re: Breakfast rituals

    English Breakfast sounds good too:300px-Full_English_Breakfast.jpg
    "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." - Ronald Reagan

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    Default Re: Breakfast rituals

    Quote Originally Posted by flamethrowerguy View Post


    I pasted this into the Notes I keep for my research for my World War II-related writing. I doubt that with rationing, either side were consuming full breakfasts, either traditional German or British.

    When I was in a British talk group, I made a comment about [what I considered horrible British breakfasts]: grilled kidneys (yuck!) and the like. Nope, they don't do that any more, unless one is talking of very-rich, landed gentry. They also thought I was strange when I remarked that I enjoyed Cornish pasties for Thanksgiving, instead of the usual turkey (which I consume in one form or another every day anyway--turkey bacon, for instance). Cornish pasties started out as tin-miners' diets packed in their lunch pails. I enjoy them, 'common' or not, but per my mother's recipe, and not the turnips and parsnips the Brits tuck inside.

    As for breakfast, I like a fairly hearty one, and then mild lunch and just a snack for supper. Since I developed type-2 diabetes a few years ago, pancakes, which I love, tend to make my blood glucose zoom. Beans for breakfast sound pretty awful, though.

    Thanks for the illumnating post.
    Last edited by Gary D.; 12-09-2009 at 09:25 PM. Reason: addition

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    Default Re: Breakfast rituals

    How about a Mexican style breakfast.Chorizo(Mexican sausage without the casing),scrambled egg and potato's with flour tortillas.No fork needed,just a piece of tortilla and scoop.I eat this on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

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    Default Re: Breakfast rituals

    The typical down south breakfast, Eggs with sausage, or bacon(all you Canadians restrain yourselves please,,) biscuits and sausage gravy. I have enjoyed many a Scot breakfast, and this runs neck,and neck.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default Re: Breakfast rituals

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary D. View Post
    Beans for breakfast sound pretty awful, though.
    The beans in tomato sauce for breakfast are probably the worst a continental European could imagine and for many this is the epitome of the English breakfast. I tried it myself on many occasions when being on holiday in Spain, means in places equally frequented by both British and German tourists. And I really liked it, it's just that my intestines and especially the rectum were pretty busy for the rest of the day.
    "I just ran out of ammo. I will ram this one. Good bye, we'll meet in Valhalla." - Major Heinrich Ehrler, April 4, 1945

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    Default Re: Breakfast rituals

    I thought rudeerude was a sick puppy, or eating puppy sick , until TG did us all a favour by not displaying his version of eggs with a liberal helping of dog vomit .

    When I finally regained consciousness after clicking on TG's revolting linked image, the doctor in the ER said I should be out of therapy within a couple of years, assuming I can stop dry retching by then.
    ..
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    Default Re: Breakfast rituals

    Quote Originally Posted by rudeerude View Post
    How about a Mexican style breakfast.Chorizo(Mexican sausage without the casing),scrambled egg and potato's with flour tortillas.No fork needed,just a piece of tortilla and scoop.I eat this on a Saturday or Sunday morning.
    I'm with rudeerude on this one too, being from Texas around a large Hispanic population, this is one of my favorite breakfasts.
    "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." - Ronald Reagan

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    Default Re: Breakfast rituals

    Quote Originally Posted by flamethrowerguy View Post
    ... it's just that my intestines and especially the rectum were pretty busy for the rest of the day.
    Hence the unauthorised slogan "Heinz meanz fartz".

    In case that is meaningless in Germany, it's a corruption of the advertising slogan for the baked bean maker Heinz: "Beanz meanz Heinz". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VXZJci-bCA

    And this on beans' effects on the rectum. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6dm9rN6oTs
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: Breakfast rituals

    @ RS,
    Biscuits and sausage gravy are great for breakfast on a cold morning, but FOUR eggs???
    "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." - Ronald Reagan

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    Default Re: Breakfast rituals

    Quote Originally Posted by navyson View Post
    @ RS,
    Biscuits and sausage gravy are great for breakfast on a cold morning, but FOUR eggs???
    What do you mean by biscuits? What we call scones, i.e. a doughy lump cooked in an oven and usually served here with butter on it or as a sweet with something like honey or jam and cream? Biscuit here means what you call cookies.




    What is sausage gravy? Not that horrible slimy mass of white stuff to the left of TG's four egg monstrosity?
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: Breakfast rituals

    Two of my favourite breakfasts, neither of which I nor anyone else can make successfully nowadays.

    1. My grandmother used to make a light sweet lemon curry with minced beef for dinner and serve the leftover curry on buttered toast for breakfast the next morning. Brilliant winter breakfast. Not all that different in its own way to the TexMex breakfast.

    2. Lamb's fry (liver) under rich brown gravy with bacon, a baked loin of lamb chop, and bubble and squeak. Used to start the day with this, and more, when I was a kid working in the shearing sheds. Yummm!

    Also hard to beat honey on hot buttered crumpets and Vegemite on hot buttered toast.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: Breakfast rituals

    Back to FTG's original post about German breakfast habits, my understanding is that up to and perhaps after WWI it was common in middle and upper class German households to have a breakfast which was a full and varied meal and could even include beer (although that might be an extension of a long European custom of drinking brewed drinks in preference to potentially disease-ridden water).

    The big German breakfast was rather like the same thing with different food in England, and perhaps elsewhere in Europe.

    I think there was a cinematic representation of the rich German breakfast in a film or TV series entitled Heimat maybe 20 years ago where the family breakfast had a much greater variety of food than anyone would attempt nowadays in the West for the main meal of the day, not least because they had cooks and maids.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 12-10-2009 at 07:09 AM.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: Breakfast rituals

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    What do you mean by biscuits? What we call scones, i.e. a doughy lump cooked in an oven and usually served here with butter on it or as a sweet with something like honey or jam and cream? Biscuit here means what you call cookies.




    What is sausage gravy? Not that horrible slimy mass of white stuff to the left of TG's four egg monstrosity?
    Well, those that are in this picture look like "our" biscuits. So, I guess they would be called scones. Except the only scones I've had here are like sweet shortbread with fruit baked into them. And yes, that horrible slimy mass of white stuff is sausage gravy. It's just covering the biscuits. If I remember right, it's made with flour, water, salt, pepper, and bacon or sausage drippings, then add crumbled cooked sausage.
    "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." - Ronald Reagan

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