Survival Guide to a Traditional Irish Breakfast
The traditional Irish Breakfast (heretofore referred to as TIB) is offered at all Bed & Breakfasts, Hotels, and some hostels as a way of providing a cultural experience and a hearty meal to their weary travelers. These establishments are also very likely to offer fruit plates or scrambled eggs (which are greatly encouraged by those of us here at Serena-Abroad.com as the better choice for reasons explained below).
Do not be fooled, while TIB offers more food and variety for the price, any alternative is a better alternative to a plate of food that, while sitting for several hours in your stomach, turns your arteries into sausage—black, spiced sausage, the consistency of couscous.
TIB usually begins with a bowl of cornflakes and a glass of orange juice. Now, while this is not always the case: if presented with any sort of cereal, Serena-Abroad.com encourages you to eat it with as much sugar as possible to counteract the affects of what’s to come, and ask for more orange juice—or any other kind of juice, the more acidic the better (stay away from coffee and tea, and under no circumstances, should you consume more phlegm-inducing dairy than necessary).
Next, you will be presented with a plate of what is best described as the 5 grease groups: eggs, ham, sausage, vegetables prepared in grease, beans; and toast.
The eggs will be fried (some establishments offer a choice of preparation—with little to no difference in amount of regret later). Eat them first. They have protein and will coat your stomach with a semi-protective layer of poultry reproductive fluids.
Ham (called Bacon) is an overcooked to the point of jerky ham steak. Relatively harmless. Eat this next as it is another source of protein for the busy day of sightseeing ahead of you, and the second least greasy (assuming you trim the fat) item of the TIB.
The sausage…just avoid the sausage. It is quite possible you will be presented with a variety of colors and sizes of sausage on your plate; whether bright orange, clotted-blood black, or regular kielbasa brown, DO NOT EAT THE SAUSAGE! Not to merely sample something new, not to experience this aspect of Irish culture, not even if you have recently been bitten by a mythical wolf man and must eat meat to avoid eating your traveling companions. Not even then! Make friends with diners around you and offer to trade them your delicious, plump sausage for their cereal.
The beans, I assume, are meant to be eaten with the toast, but, if beans and toast aren’t for you—as they aren’t for me, indulge in sampling the plethora of jams sitting in the middle of your table.
Beans on toast taste like beans (in ketchup) on dry, white toast, that is to say, they taste like ketchup on toast and offer the unfortunate tactile experience of dry, white toast and bean mush (warm if you’re lucky), and runny ketchup. As far as I can tell, there are no nutritional benefits and no rational reason to eat Beans on Toast.
Your TIB plate will be garnished with a cooked tomato, and mushrooms. Expect both to be covered in oil, butter, lard, or all of the above. If this is not the case, consume any and all vegetables available—before anything else.
As with many things in Ireland, each region has their own, slightly different way of doing TIB. The Dingle Peninsula, for example likes to include a fried fish steak. I’ve never been a fan of fried fish for breakfast, and when included on a platter of the 5 major grease groups, it is the opinion of Serena-Abroad.com that one is best avoiding the fish with the same fervor as the sausage.
If, after reading this, you decide not to heed my warnings, remember this:
You have just consumed 4 servings too many of animal by-product. Do not engage in any of the following activities:
Running (or physical activity of any kind), smoking (unless you’re feeling lucky—well, do ya?*), eating anything else for several hours, and never get on a bus going…anywhere. Roads in Ireland are winding, and it is very likely you will, along the way, hit something, or someone. This trip, on a bus is enough to make even the most seasoned Grey-hounder ill, adding to it TIB creates a travel memory not easily forgotten (as I learned the hard way).
European has inspired me: 30 pts. and eternal glory to the best limerick (your choice of subject). Some of you are quite clever indeed and I encourage you to respond-- even those amongst you lacking in the clever department ;)
*sorry, couldn’t help myself.