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Breakfast is a meal, often light, usually taken in the morning. The name derives from the concept that you have not eaten whilst sleeping, i.e., you are fasting during that time, and break that fast with the meal. It is therefore a calque of the French déjeuner or petit déjeuner and the Spanish desayuno. The German Frühstück, the Danish morgenmad and Esperanto matenmanĝo mean "morning meal."

Many nutritionists promote breakfast as a very important meal which provides important nourishment and energy to begin the day. Studies have indicated that food eaten early in the day is less likely to contribute to fat gain than food eaten in the evening.


North America

Traditional North American breakfasts may feature such foods as toast, cold breakfast cereals, hot oat porridge, eggs, bacon, ham, sausages, pancakes, waffles, French toast, pastries such as croissants, doughnuts, and muffins, and fruit. Fashionable hotel breakfast buffets also may include bagels with cream cheese and lox, sweetened flavored yogurt in packaged cups, and fruit salad regardless of the season.

Breakfast for many North American workers consists of coffee and a breakfast pastry purchased on their way to work. Alternative food items that fit into this "eat-on-the-go" or "eat-at-the-job" breakfast strategy are packaged yogurt, fast food breakfast items, fresh fruit (either purchased on the go or brought from home), fruit cups, toaster pastries such as Pop-Tarts and instant "just-pour-hot-water" oatmeal.

British Isles

Britons would add tomatoes, mushrooms, black pudding, crumpets, porridge and fish to the list - see Full English breakfast.

The Irish would include white pudding, soda bread and in Ulster, soda farls and potato farls; see Irish breakfast.

Continental Europe

English speakers tend to eat more for breakfast than continental Europeans, whose breakfast is scarcely more than a snack to tide one over until lunch—commonly called a "Continental breakfast."

In France a typical domestic breakfast will consist of bowls (rather than cups or mugs) of coffee, often café au lait, or hot chocolate with tartines - slices of baguette spread with jam - to be dunked. Croissants are also traditional.

A distinctive breakfast of Europe is the Madrid early morning post-discotheque fare of chocolate y churros—the standard extremely thick, hot and sweet hot chocolate with fritters.

Yoghurt or, especially in central and eastern Europe, kefir may be consumed.

Hotels and other types of lodging in Europe typically include breakfast in their rates, and in many cases, especially in larger hotels, it consists of a breakfast buffet. Specific items will vary from country to country, depending on local breakfast tastes and habits. In Switzerland, for example, "luncheon meats", cheese, yoghurt, prepared fruit, butter, croissants, breads and rolls are served. Regardless of location the standard requirements for a British breakfast (eggs, potatoes, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms) are often a part of the buffet.


Chinese breakfasts typically include rice congee/jook, you tiao, and soy milk.

In Korea breakfast has not existed as a distinct concept. Food eaten in the morning does differ substantially from the other meals of the day. Kimchi (a mixture of fermented vegetables) and rice are staples of the morning meal.


Common beverages include fruit juices, milk, tea, and/or coffee.


Some restaurants devote themselves to breakfast or have special breakfast menus. The field is dominated on one hand by greasy spoons, diners, cafés, cafeterias, and fast food places, and on the other hand by hotels. However, some breakfast places resemble standard restaurants in procedure, selection, and price.

Special occasions

Breakfast is occasionally served as an entertainment meal. More popular than breakfast in this regard, however, is brunch.

The serving of a pancake breakfast is traditional on Shrove Tuesday, and some celebrate a festive breakfast on Christmas morning.

During Ramadan, Muslims describe the meal after sunset that breaks the fast as (Iftar ).

See also

Wikibooks Cookbook has a section about:


External links

  • Complete Recipes: Breakfast
  • Wikibooks Cookbook

Last updated: 02-06-2005 13:43:58
Last updated: 05-03-2005 02:30:17