Before the days of pop tarts the real way every working man
started his day was with an equally unhealthy yet far more
tasty fry up. Bacon, sausage, fried eggs (sunny side up) black
pudding, fried bread, tomatoes, fried potatoes and a field
mushroom or two if cash was not an issue, or if you happened
to live near a field that was kind enough to yield these fine
Running back through the list there is a couple of specifics
that need to be clarified. Bacon, real English bacon is cut
from the loin. When the bacon is cooked the rind should be
crisp but the meat not dry (although in the North of England
it might not be too crispy at all), quite a different product
than say American bacon. The bacon will curl a little but
if you like it sitting a little flatter on the plate you would
need to take a leaf from my Nan's book. As a child I can remember
her snipping through the rind with a pair of red handled scissors.
You do not need the red handles; any pair of scissors will
do it for you. The bacon is then fried.
The sausage I think are best when grilled. Pricked with a
fork first to preventing them with the opportunity to split.
Grill them well, a good brown color all around, even to the
point where it takes a tiny bit of force to cut through the
skin. Season up the tomatoes and mushrooms; grill them with
the sausage and the black pudding.
Black pudding, always a mystery to me growing up. I always
wanted to taste this sausage composed of pig's blood, fat,
bread and seasonings. I can recall countless occasions where
my Mother yielded to my nagging and bought me a small piece,
only to sit in our refrigerator until it had expired quicker
than I could rustle up the courage to eat a product made with
pigs blood. To this day I have still never consumed a piece,
and yes I did just buy a piece on my last trip home… You can
guess where it still is right now! With the onslaught of England's
current live stock problems I do not envision black pud' being
a hot commodity for a little while.
The potatoes are only there if there was a surplus from dinner
the night before.
Fried bread; once the bacon has been fried it comes out of
the pan and a couple of thick slices of bread go in, the hot
bacon fat crisping up the bread. This is the business, a good
old chunky bit of fried bread.
Lastly the eggs, sunny side up. In the pre Teflon days, the
way to cook the snotty bit on the top of the egg was a little
wave under the grill. Now however it just calls for a quick
flip of a confident wrist.
The final additions to the breakfast of Kings and working
class heroes, is tomato ketchup, HP or Daddy's Sauce (HP's
not so aristocratic poor cousin). A couple rounds of toast,
thick cut marmalade, and lastly and certainly the most important
component; a mug of steaming hot tea. Coffee is not drunk
with a fry up.
The black stuff is only consumed with a fry up, when it is
eaten later in the day. In this case the black stuff would
be a big old pint of Guinness. The reason for the late dining
would probably be a juicy hangover, so why not add half a
can of baked beans for good measure…