The “traditional breakfast” is often portrayed as the “full English breakfast” – eggs, bacon, mushrooms, etc. But readers may be interested to know that workers in the Suffolk farmhouses of the mid-nineteenth century were eating something quite different.
During 1894 and 1895, the Suffolk Times and Mercury featured a series of articles entitled “The autobiography of a Suffolk Farm Labourer: with recollections of incidents and events that have occurred in Suffolk, during the sixty years from 1816 to 1876”. In his ‘autobiography’, the farm worker recalls his memories of breakfast in the farmhouse kitchen:
“... The meals were taken in the old-fashioned kitchen, which had an open fire-place. During winter a large block of wood made the room comfortably warm. Master, mistress, and servants were all in the same room, though not at the same table. Visitors, who often dropped in sat with the family, but the conversation went on regardless of our presence….
For breakfast we had pork, bread,
cheese, and a pint of mild beer.
‘Too big to swallow, and too hard to bite.’
(NB: A footman is a piece of furniture made of brass or steel, similar in design to footstool, that was commonly used for keeping dishes warm in front of fires.)