My Life Through Food Part 1: Breakfast

When you are 6’5″ and 285 pounds, food becomes a big part of your life. Now, I’m no Adam Richman, but let’s just say I’ve gained a following for my own version of Man v. Food. In high school after golf tournaments I became famous for my Octo-stacker, mini-Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls, and Blue Raspberry Icee order at the local Burger King (for those of you asking yourself what in the world is an Octo-stacker, Burger King serves a burger called a Quad-stacker, four burger patties and two strips of bacon in a bun. An Octo-stacker is basically two Quad-stackers smashed together, eight burger patties in all). At Carleton, I bested my individual record for

Breakfast Time!

Burton Chicken Wings last winter eating 28 wings—before Bon App told me I could not come up for any more wings. I suffered my first food loss in Burnsville, MN, when a group of my friends and I made a Cane’s run and I tried to eat Two Caniac specials and could not finish all the fries. This war I wage with my food limits is long and never ending, so naturally it would extend to my time in London. Having been abroad for two months now, I want to highlight my food adventure abroad, while also highlighting the food I miss from back home. This is part one of this series of food blogs.

FOOD ABROAD: Breakfast

I’ve got to begin with the first meal of the day, and I’ll preface this by saying it is VERY hard to ruin breakfast food. I had been told of the mythical “English Breakfast” back in the states, and so I knew I had to try it. Upon looking at it, there is nothing out of the ordinary in the English Breakfast: sausage, eggs, bacon, hash browns, beans, and tomato. The beans and tomato was the

Full English Breakfast

only thing new to me. Now, I HATE tomato, so I wasn’t enthused with the tomato being there. But the meat was really going to make or break this meal. The bacon and sausage in the UK are very different than what it is in the states. The sausage is much fluffier; it has a different texture when you chew on it. I actually really liked it. Then, THE BACON! It is thicker cut than in the states—a huge plus to me. So the meat was definitely a winner. Then, contrary to what I expected, the addition of baked beans was superb. Now, they did not taste like any baked beans I had ever had. They were Heinz baked beans, and they had a ketchup taste to them. I’ve always had the Bush’s beans, or the beans that are cooked in a slow cooker with BBQ sauce. BBQ baked beans are great, and make a nice side dish with hot dogs or burgers. I also had always ate my beans by scooping them up with potato chips. Taking what I had always considered to be a BBQ or summer food and putting it with breakfast was a win in my book. They also serve breakfast with a bottle of HP Sauce—a sauce that reminds me of BBQ sauce but is milder and sweeter. I have since fallen in love with the stuff. English Breakfasts and HP Sauce are two things I plan to bring back to the states, and the English Breakfast was definitely a success.

Now, England does not only have their signature dish for breakfast. Many times it is toast and cereal, scones, yogurt (which by the way make sure you get a sugary yogurt, because I got a regular yogurt here at a continental breakfast and it was SOOOOOO bitter and tart. YUCK!), the usual continental style breakfasts with tea or coffee. But, I do want to highlight a few other foods. First, I’m going to put a plug in for My Old Dutch in High Holborn. It has become a

My Old Dutch Apple Cinnamon Pancake

favorite of our group because of their £5.95 pancake deal on Mondays. They are a pancake house that serves the thick buttermilk pancakes I’m accustomed to from the US as well as a crepe style pancake. I had the crepe style apple cinnamon pancake when I stopped in to take advantage of the deal and check them out. It was AMAZING! The pancake was huge, with ice cream, cinnamon, apple slices, caramel drizzle—the works! The only complaint I had about it was that the meal was not filling. I felt like I could have ordered another one. The same sentiment was felt when I had a breakfast crepe in Paris. It had ham, egg, and cheese wrapped up in a crepe. I had it to-go from a crepe stand, and it was great. I had never thought of a crepe as anything other than a dessert food with ice cream, fruit, chocolate, or whipped cream. The eggs, cheese and ham was so delicious in it—but the to-go form was just a bit messy, so grab napkins! I was still hungry after eating the crepe though. The Old Dutch has all kinds of flavors as well (I saw one with salmon and mushrooms in it!), so it will have something for everyone. The crepe/pancake is a great hit, but I will order two next time.

Fruit Pancake at My Old Dutch

I’ve also had a lot of continental breakfasts here, and they are not really that different from the US. The UK however does serve cold cuts of meat as well as cheese at breakfast, with the meat usually being salami or Wiltshire ham and English cheddar cheese. I’ve enjoyed this addition and will miss Wiltshire ham when I get back to the US.


Breakfast foods I miss: SUGARY CEREALS, specifically Frosted Flakes. Everything available here except for Rice Krispies is those breakfast cereals that are supposed to “make you regular,” aka cardboard mixed in with tree bark. I’m partial to the Malt-O-Meal cereals, as I had these as a kid. I know many at Carleton complain about them, but I’ve always loved them. While in the UK, I’ve had enough Rice Krispies here to last me a lifetime. I could go out and buy Frosted Flakes (or as they know call them here, Frosties), but I’m not one to turn down free food if it is offered; so if a continental breakfast is put out for me I will eat it.

I also miss breakfast sandwiches. I have not had one here in the UK, though I know they exist. I’ve seen breakfast croissants and biscuits, but I’ve always enjoyed the breakfast bagel sandwich or the pancake sandwiches they serve in the US. I’m sure I could go to a McDonalds and get that, but I’ll wait till I’m back in the states.

Also—and prepare yourself because this will become a running theme for these blogs—the portion sizes are much smaller here. As an example, I’ll use Starbucks. They sell a venti here in the UK and it has 20 fl. oz. of liquid. In the US, the venti is 24 fl. oz. I still have not got used to

Look how small this is?

this. I’m used to going to a gourmet burger restaurant in the US and getting a half-pound or one-pound burger (8-16 ounces), but the largest size I’ve been able to find in the UK is a 6-ounce burger. I was not ready for this jarring experience.

Overall, breakfast has been a success. Look for my next post about lunch, teatime and many other foods!

Brandon B. Fabel ‘18

Author: fabelb

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