Fuel for the Day Ahead
One of the best: The Full English at Telstar Bed and Breakfast, Exeter, EnglandAn English Fry-Up usually starts with fruit juice and cold cereal, followed by fried eggs, bacon rashers (to Americans it resembles ham), bangers (sausage links), beans, grilled tomato and/or mushrooms, white or wheat toast, tea or coffee. In Scotland, the breakfast will often substitute porridge for cold cereal and add in black pudding, haggis, tattie scones (difficult to describe, but like a mix between a grilled thick flour tortilla and a potato pancake), and sometimes Lorne sausage (a square sausage of minced pork, beef, spices). The Welsh version often adds a delicious fried laverbread-oatmeal patty instead of porridge, and/or cockles or smoked salmon. The Irish version, the most famous of which is the Ulster Fry-Up, comes with black and white puddings and soda bread. The great thing is that more and more restaurants are offering creative vegan and vegetarian versions of the Fry-Up, and also getting more creative with healthier versions of the traditional.
Because I am in the business of trying a lot of different foods, I can only eat a Fry-Up early in the morning when I am going to be travelling all day or too busy with research to take a lunch break. The meal, as is obvious, is very filling.
Lesley sources much of her food locally, not just the black pudding. The eggs, bangers, haggis, and rashers are local, along with her tattie scones. When she brought in the meats to accompany my eggs --thankfully reassuring me that I did not need to eat it all--she pointed to Anderson's black pudding (to the left at the top in the photo, across from haggis), as well as a slice of Stornoway black pudding (at the bottom of photo). Undoubtedly, I thought Anderson's was fantastic because of its crumbly texture and distinctive spiciness. Lesley smiled and told me that three golf caddies who had lodged with her the week before also preferred Anderson’s black pudding to the Stornoway's. However, they were both delicious, and I hope if you travel to Scotland you give artisan black puddings a try.
The meat selection at Leslie's Airbnb, including black puddings, haggis, rasher, banger, and tattie sconeThank goodness you are allowed to just pick and choose what you want when presented with a Fry-Up menu. Even when I leave off half the offerings, I am comfortably full the rest of the day.
Before I had arrived in Scotland, I had been staying for an extended period along Bae Ceredigion, Wales, including Aberystwyth, home to a lovely fish restaurant, Pysgoty. The day I made my way there for breakfast was nothing short of an Atlantic squall, and as I clutched my raincoat around me and trudged forward, the waves were crashing over the seawall and the sky was a dark lead color. It was that color that stands out in my mind because when Carys, the server at Pysgoty, set my breakfast down in front of me, the deep yellow of the scrambled eggs and the gorgeous burnt orange skin of the hot-smoked salmon literally light up that room, puncturing all that gray. I think that I stared at the plate a full moment to soak in its sunlight rays before I tucked into its deliciousness.