What is Breakfast?
Breakfast is the first meal of the day, typically eaten in the morning. The word derives from breaking the involuntary fast due to sleep. Many food experts consider breakfast to be the most important meal of the day.
Traditionally, breakfast is a large meal eaten before work designed to carry people through a large part of the day. The erosion of the cooked breakfast has been an ongoing trend in the Western world, since at least the early 20th century, coinciding with late waking times than when most Westerners had agricultural occupations, starting early in the morning.
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Breakfast in hotels may be served in the hotel restaurant or dining room, in a breakfast room set aside for this one meal, or in the guest’s bedroom or suite. The current trend is that most of the hotels are offering breakfast as complementary (bed and breakfast tariff).
Types of Breakfast
The following are some of the basic types of breakfast:
Continental Breakfast or Café Complet
Continental breakfast is an institutional meal plan based on lighter Mediterranean breakfast traditions. It is a light meal meant to satisfy breakfaster until lunch. A typical Continental breakfast consists of the following:
|Juice||Mango juice, pineapple juice, tomato juice, orange juice or grapefruit juice|
|Bread||Mango juice, pineapple juice, tomato juice, orange juice, or grapefruit juice|
|Beverage||Hot beverages such as tea or coffee.|
The continental breakfast may also include sliced cold meats, such as salami or ham, and yogurt or cereal. Some countries of Europe, such as The Netherlands and those in Scandinavia, add a bit of fruit and cheese to the breakfast menu, occasionally even a boiled egg or a little salami.
If tea is served as a beverage with the above breakfast then it is known as ‘The Complet’. If coffee is served with the above breakfast then it is known as ‘Café Complet’.
On the other hand, if the guest exclusively takes coffee alone (with nothing to eat), then it is known as ‘Café Simple’. If the guest takes tea alone then it is known as ‘The Simplé’.
The current trend in the continental breakfast menu includes a wide variety of choice of food items as detailed below:
|Juice||Mango, pineapple, orange, apple fresh, stewed fruit, strawberries, lychees, melon, tomato juice, grapefruit (half or segments), figs, prunes (fresh and stewed).|
|Cereals||Cornflakes, Weetabix, Special K, Alpen, muesli, bran flakes, rice crispies, porridge.|
|Yoghurts||Natural or fruit, regular or low fat|
|Fish||Fried or grilled kippers, poached smoked haddock (sometimes with poached eggs), grilled herring, fried or grilled plaice, fried or grilled sole, kedgeree, smoked fish, marinated fish such as gravadiax.|
|Eggs||Fried, poached, scrambled, boiled, plain or savory filled omelette, eggs benedict|
|Meats||Fried, poached, scrambled, boiled, plain or savory filled omelet, eggs benedict|
|Potatoes and Vegetables||Hash browns, sauté potatoes, home fries, mushrooms, baked beans fresh or frilled tomato|
|Yogurts||Regular pancakes or waffles, with maple syrup or other toppings, blueberry pancakes, whole meal pancakes, griddles cakes|
|Pancakes and waffles||Hams, tongue, chicken, smoked cold meats, salamis, cheeses|
|Bread items||Toast, rolls, croissants, brioches, crisp bread, plain sliced white or brown bread, Danish pastries, American muffins, English muffins, spiced scones, tea cakes, and doughnuts.|
|Preserves||Toast, rolls, croissants, brioches, crisp breads, plain sliced white or brown bread, Danish pastries, American muffins, English muffins, spiced scones, tea cakes, and doughnuts.|
|Beverages||Tea, coffee (including decaffeinated), chocolate, beverages, milk, mineral waters|
The Continental Breakfast concept is not limited to Europe, as evidenced by the numerous hotel chains that offer this service worldwide.
English Breakfast or Full Breakfast
Somerset Maugham once said, “The only way to eat well in England is to have breakfast three times a day”.
An English breakfast is an elaborate breakfast quite substantial in size and variety. The traditional English breakfast comprises ten courses.
|Juice||Chilled fruit juices – Pineapple, Orange, Apple, Grapefruit, Tomato|
|Stewed Fruits||Apples, Prunes, Figs, Pears, etc. are cut into small pieces and cooked in sugar syrup flavored with clove and cinnamon. It is served in a cocktail cup with a quarter plate as underliner and the cutlery provided is a teaspoon|
|Cereals||Apples, Prunes, Figs, Pears, etc. are cut into small pieces and cooked in sugar syrup flavored with clove and cinnamon. It is served in a cocktail cup with a quarter plate as an underliner and the cutlery provided is a teaspoon|
|Fish||Herring, Haddock, Kedgres, Sardines are served.|
|Eggs||Herring, Haddock, Kedgres, and Sardines are served.|
|Meats||Fried or Grilled bacon, sausages, ham, salami, kidney or liver.|
|Rolls and toast||Fried or Grilled bacon, sausages, ham, salami, kidney, or liver.|
|Butter and Preserves||Butter, jam, jelly, marmalade, honey, maple syrup.|
|Fruits||Tea, coffee, or hot beverages like Bournvita, Milo, Horlicks, Ovaltine, Cocco.|
|Beverages||Tea, coffee, or hot beverages like Bournvita, Milo, Horlicks, Ovaltine, and Cocco.|
This traditional cooked breakfast has largely been replaced by simple, light foods and many varied choices have been added to suit today’s customers. The course also varies from two to ten depending on the customer and the establishment.
English breakfast is much heavier than a continental breakfast.
Traditional breakfasts in the United States and Canada derive from the full English breakfast and feature predominantly sweet or mild-flavored foods, mostly hot.
Restaurants that serve breakfast typically base their menus around egg dishes and meats such as sausage and bacon. Pancakes and waffles are also popular. An assemblage commonly known as a country breakfast in restaurants consists of eggs or omelet, sausage or bacon, hash browns, gravy, coffee, biscuits or toast with jam or jelly, and fruit juice.
The American breakfast comprises the following courses:
|Juice||Mango, Pineapple, Orange, Grapefruit, Tomato|
|Cereals||Oatmeal (meal), cornflakes, wheat flakes, rice crispies, porridge are served with cold or hot milk.|
|Eggs||Oatmeal (meal), cornflakes, wheat flakes, rice crispies, and porridge are served with cold or hot milk.|
|Breads||Toast white or brown, rolls, or brioche croissant, with preserves like butter, jam, jelly, marmalade, and honey.|
|Beverages||Toast white or brown, rolls, or brioche croissant, with preserves like butter, jam, jelly, marmalade and honey.|
American breakfast usually consists of fewer courses than English breakfast.
An Indian breakfast varies from region to region and is mostly vegetarian. In East India (Orissa, Bengal) the most popular breakfast are Idly, Bara, Puri, and Upma. These are served with Ghuguni (Peas curry) or potato curry and also sweets like Rasogula, chenopods, etc. In South India, the most popular breakfast is an assortment with several possible main dishes, such as idlis, vadas, dosas, and chapatis. These are most often served with hot sambar and one or two kinds of chutney items in Tamil Nadu.
The usual North Indian breakfast consists of stuffed paratha bread or unstuffed parathas (they resemble oily miles crepes) with fresh butter, and cooked spicy vegetables, especially aloo sabzi. Popular accompaniments include sweets like jalebi, halwa, and sweetened milk. In Maharashtra, Poha, Upma, or Shira (similar to Kesaribath) is frequently eaten for breakfast. In urban areas, omelets and simple butter sandwiches are becoming popular breakfast food.
|Juice||Mango, Pineapple, Orange, Grapes, Tomato|
|Fruit Salad||Fresh, seasonal fruit accompanied with yoghurt or honey|
|Sweet dishs||Fresh, seasonal fruit accompanied with yogurt or honey|
|Eggs||Boiled egg, omlette, scrambled eggs on white or whole meal bread toast served with crumbled homemade paneer cheese & chopped spinach.|
|Sweet dishes||Boiled egg, omelet, scrambled eggs on white or whole meal bread toast served with crumbled homemade paneer cheese & chopped spinach.|
|Indian speciality breakfast items||Idlis, vadas, dosas, and chapatis served with sambar and chutneys. Bara, Puri and Upma, Pongal, Poha, or Shira (similar to Kesaribath) Stuffed paratha bread or unstuffed parathas with cooked spicy vegetables, especially aloo sabzi.|
|Indian specialty breakfast items||Idlis, vadas, dosas, and chapatis served with sambar and chutneys. Bara, Puri and Upma, Pongal, Poha, or Shira (similar to Kesaribath) Stuffed paratha bread or unstuffed parathas with cooked spicy vegetables especially aloo sabzi.|
Breakfast Table Setting
The table setting is an art. A meal however simple or elaborate, the laying of a table can make a whole lot of difference. Each meal can have a classy look with a little touch of thought. A basic table setting, suitable for breakfast should be arranged as follows:
- A plate placed in the center (allow at least 24 inches for each place setting)
- A bread and butter plate was placed at the top left of the plate
- A soup/salad bowl can be placed on top of the scale (as needed)
- A fork placed on the direct left of the plate
- A knife and soup spoon placed on the immediate right of the plate (the cutting edge of the knife should face the plate)
- A napkin folded to the left of the fork
- A drinking glass placed directly above the spoon and knife
- A coffee/tea cup and saucer to the right of the drinking glass
The area or space for all the utensils (including salt, pepper cruets, and ashtrays) for each guest is called the cover. The breakfast cover may be divided into two types:
- Full breakfast cover.
- Continental breakfast cover.
Full English Breakfast Cover
The full English breakfast consists of a number of courses; usually three or four, with a choice of dishes from within each course. The cover includes some or all of the following:
- Side plate and side knife
- Fish knife and fork
- Joint knife and fork
- Soupspoon and fork
- Tea or breakfast cereal cup, saucer, and teaspoon
- Slop basin
- Tea strainer
- Jug of cold milk (if tea bags are used – no need for stainers)
- Sugar cubes bowl and tongs or individual sugar packets in a bowl, cream or coffee mate pouches
- Butter dish on a doily on an underplate with a butter knife
- Preserve the dish on a doily on an underplate with a preserved spoon
- Cruet: salt, pepper, mustard, and mustard spoon
- Serviette: either laid flat between the joint knife and fork or placed on the side plate under the side knife
- Toast rack on an underplate
- Bread boat containing the croissant or brioche in a serviette to keep them warm.
- Stands or underplates for teapot/coffee pot and hot water jug / hot milk jug, salt and pepper, caster, sugar in shakers.
- Ashtray (depending on the smoking policy)
- Table number display.
Continental Breakfast Cover
For a continental breakfast consisting of hot croissants/ brioches or hot toast, butter, preserves, and coffee or tea, the cover would be as follows:
- Stands or underplates for coffee/tea pot and hot milk / hot water jug or pouches of tea or instant coffee.
- Side plate with side knife
- Sugar cubes basin and tongs or individual sugar and creamer packets in a bowl iv) Tea or breakfast cup and saucer and a teaspoon
- If the beverage is tea, the following items will be needed: a slop basin and tea strainer.
- Ashtray (depending on the smoking policy of the establishment)
The majority of the items listed above for the two types of breakfast are often placed on the table as part of the mise-en-place before the customer is seated. A number of items are then placed on the table after the customer is seated and makes his choice of breakfast known. These include:
- butter dish with butter and alternatives
- preserve the dish with preserves
- jug of cold milk
- toast rack with toast and bread basket with hot rolls
- teapot/coffee pot / hot or cold milk / hot water jug.
Order of Service for Breakfast
Pleasing and good breakfast service is important because guests are not always at their best in the morning. Foods served for breakfast must be palatable, freshly prepared, and served at the correct temperature. Often breakfast should be served in courses unless it is requested by the client as a whole.
Cooked food and beverages should be brought to the guests directly from the serving station and under no circumstances food be allowed to remain on the serving stand to cool off while the customer finishes a preceding course.
- When fresh fruit or fruit juice is ordered, it is desirable to serve it first and then remove the soiled dishes before placing the toast and coffee.
- Customers who order a combination of cooked fruit, toast, and coffee may ask to have the whole order served in one go. Place the fruit dish, and set it on an underliner. In the center of the cover, place the plate of toast at the left of the forks and the coffee at the right of the teaspoons.
- When the breakfast order includes cereal and a hot dish, the service procedure may be as follows:
- Place the fruit course in the center of the cover.
- Remove the soiled fruit dish.
- Place the cereal bowl, and set an underliner, in the center of the cover. Cut the individual boxes of cereal partway through the side near the top so the guest can easily open them.
- Remove the soiled cereal dish.
- Place the breakfast plates of eggs, meat, or other hot food in the center of the cover. Place the plate of toast at the left of the forks. Place the coffee service at the right of the spoons.
- Remove the breakfast and bread plates.
- Place the finger bowl with a slice of lime or lemon, one-third of warm water. The finger bowl is sometimes placed after the fruit course when fruits that may soil the finger have been served.
- Place the fruit course in the center of the cover.