O breakfast! O breakfast! The meal of my heart! Bring porridge, bring sausage, bring fish for a start, Bring kidneys and mushrooms and partridges' legs, But let the foundation be bacon and eggs.*
Thus Sir A. P. Herbert, English novelist and former member of Parliament, champion of many causes, declares in favor of the traditional, man-sized British breakfast.
The verse puts me in mind of glorious morning spreads laid out on the antique sideboards of post World War II paying-guest castles in England, Scotland and Ireland. For even through years of austerity and contracting empire, breakfast has remained a show in the British Isles. I think of cold meats on silver platters and surprises of grilled this-and-that in little lidded dishes over blue alcohol flames. Just as in Edwardian days, the fare can range from kippers to cold game to "sausage and mash."
This English breakfast—completed with tea (and today, even coffee), toast, muffins, crumpets or scones, jam, marmalade and honey, fruits from the hothouse or orchard—is really a sort of Anglican smorgasbord, to be eaten in several courses.
For whatever reasons of habit, temperament or prevailing climate (perhaps the efficiency of central heating arrangements has most to do with it), there are few Americans who would elect to start the day with a breakfast of such proportions. However, the same meal can be adapted admirably to serve as a brunch or buffet supper with far more individuality than the frequently encountered combination of a ham, a turkey and a salad or a casserole dish and a salad.
Silver dishes and alcohol lamps can be substituted for by a variety of new electric warmers, enameled-iron covered dishes and fireproof platters. These should contain such simple and good things as grilled kidneys and bacon, grilled mackerel or other fish, mushrooms on toast, grilled tomatoes and bacon, sausages and mashed potatoes, an omelet, ham or bacon and eggs, thin slices of calf's liver. There should be one platter at least of very special ham or other cold meat, and cold game birds if possible.
An excellent dish to be included in such a meal—and a traditional breakfast specialty in England—is shown in the photograph on the opposite page. This is a British adaptation (considerably toned down in spiciness) of an Indian invention called kedgeree. Since it calls for previously cooked fish in combination with other ingredients, the dish is economical in providing a way to employ leftovers. It should be of special interest in the household of the fisherman who sometimes brings home a huge salmon or other oversized game fish which cannot be consumed at one sitting.
KEDGEREE (serves 10)
With or without the concomitants of the traditional English breakfast, this tasty preparation of fish, rice and eggs makes an attractive side dish on a buffet table. It needs only to be supplemented by a platter of crisp bacon and a salad to serve admirably as a simple Sunday supper.
2� cups or more of boned, cooked fish, in large flakes (salmon, as in picture, fresh or smoked haddock or other leftover fish)
5 cups of cooked rice (quick-cooking processed rice done only till firm, not soft, or leftover firm rice)
8 hard-boiled eggs
1 bunch of watercress (leaves only, chopped fine)
� pound butter
3� tablespoons tomato catsup (optional)
Tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper
Salt; paprika if desired