Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Breakfast (petite dejeuner)

It is the first meal of the day, which literally breaks the fast of the night. Two quite different traditions can be traced – the first hot drink (pick me up) of the day, and the first meal of the day, which is much more substantial.
At the time of revolution it became customary to eat dinner at the end of the afternoon when the business of the day was completed. The main meal was taken at mid day. Hence a ‘breakfast’ was required to bridge the gap between the two meals.
Breakfast is traditionally a British rather than a continental meal, originating from the days of private house and family service. At this time it was a very substantial meal consisting of some six or seven courses with items such as chops, liver, game or steaks.
During the past decade however the British have been eating far less breakfast foods such as an egg and bacon and have turned to lighter alternative.
In France this is the petit dejeuner, milky coffee with bread in some form, now commonly known as “continental breakfast” an often bought in a cafe, on the way to work. Other simple foods that are popular for breakfast include fresh fruit and yogurt.

1. Fruit juices
- Orange (fresh/ canned)
- Pineapple (fresh/ canned)
- Grapefruit (fresh/ canned)
- Tangerine (fresh/ canned)
- Tomato (canned)
- Mango (canned)
- Apricot (canned)
- Apple (canned)
- Passion fruit (canned)
- Sweet lime (fresh)
- Watermelon (fresh)

2. Fresh Fruits
- Melon
- Strawberries
- Grapefruit (Half or segments)
- Pineapple
- Apricots
- Peaches
- Mango
- Lychees
- Figs
- Prunes

3. Stewed fruits/ Fruit compote
(a preparation of fresh or dried fruit cooked either whole or in pieces in a sugar syrup, unlike jam not kept for a long time)
- Prunes - pineapple - peach
- Pears - cherry
- Apples - apricot
- Figs - rhubarb
3. Cereals
- All proprietary brands of breakfast cereals
- Oatmeal porridge
- Rolled oat porridge
- Broken wheat porridge
Eg: cornflakes, weetabix, Special K, Alpen, muesli, bran flakes, Rice Krispeis etc

*Porridge is eaten with hot milk or cream or golden syrup (refined maple syrup)
*porridge is a dish of rolled oats or oatmeal cooked in boiling water or milk , which can be eaten , with or without sugar with hot or cold milk or cream.
*Golden syrup/ maple syrup: maple is one of about 200 species of tree or shrub which grow in temperate climates. The North American sugar maple has orange sap, which is collected from the trunk in the spring and yields a clear golden syrup. Rich in sugar, with an aromatic flavor, it is very popular in US and Canada. It is spread on roasts and ham, served with pancakes and puddings, used to glaze carrot and caramelize sweet potatoes.

4. Fish

a) Finnan Haddock
The fish is gutted and split down the back bone. It is soaked in brine but not dyed. Then it is put in tenter hook till the protein gloss develops on the surface of the fish. It is then smoked.

b) Grilled herrings
Clean and trim herrings then brush them with oil or melted butter, season and cook under a moderate grill , serve with maitre d’ hotel butter or mustard sauce.

c) Bloaters
First developed at Yarmouth (England) in 1835. Bloaters are prepared from good quality herrings. They are prepared whole owning to their special flavour due to the activity of the gut enzymes. The fish is dry salted for 12 hrs. It is then washed to remove the excess amount of salt deposits. It is threaded on metal spears and stacked in kiln to smoke.

d) Kippers
They are also prepared from good quality fresh herrings. The fish is squatted and split with the help of machine. The fish is soaked in brine and dyed before being smoked. The fish is then treaded on tenter hooks for 1 ½ hrs before being smoked.

e) Fried smelt (salmon family)
The fish is gutted, washed; dried and stored in the refrigerator (they freeze very well) they can also be marinated and grilled, cooked in white wine, coated with flour and fried. Served with lemon quarters, garnished with parsley.

e) Fried plaice
Plaice is a 25-65cm long fish with both eyes on the upper side found in the Atlantic, greyish brown in colour. The flesh has a delicate taste and texture and is suitable for frying, grilling or poaching. Its taste is similar to sole.

f) Kedgeree
A British breakfast preparation comprises mixture of rice, cooked flaked fish and hard boiled eggs. The fish is usually smoked haddock, but it may be salmon or even turbot. Peas may be added to the ingredients can be bound with curry flavoured béchamel sauce seasoned with cayenne pepper and nutmeg.
An English dish that came originally from India. The word comes from the Hindi word khicari, from Sanskrit khicca, the origin which is obscure. The original Indian dish, known as kadgeri, consists of rice garnished with onions, lentils and eggs. Fish was added by the British.

g) Arbroath smokes
These are haddock or whiting weighing around ½ pound (225gms) which are headed and gutted but not split. It is soaked in brine, tied in pairs, and canned. They are not smoked.

h) Golden cutlets
These are made from haddock or whiting which are headed, gutted but not split. They are split from the head end to the backbone leaving two joint fillets. They are soaked in brine and dyed to bright yellow colour before being smoked.

4. Eggs
- Fried (sunny side up, Turn – over)
- Poached
- Scrambled
- Boiled
- Plain/ savoury omelette

*with ham/bacon/sausage/grilled mushrooms
* Standard accompaniments are grilled tomato & hash brown potatoes

5. Meat
- Fried or grilled bacon
- Fried or grilled pork sausage
- Sweet bread (the culinary term for thymus gland in the throat and pancreas near the stomach in calves, lambs and pigs although the latter are not much used)
- Grilled chitterlings (intestines of pigs)
- Fried bath chaps (pig’s cheeks with ham)
- Grilled animelles (Testicles of lamb ram or bull)
- Grilled breakfast steaks
- York ham
- Calf’s tongue
- Breakfast sausage
- Gammon

6. Breads/ breakfast rolls
- Toast
- Rolls
- Croissants
- Brioches
- Muffins
- Danish pastry (no preserves)
- Doughnut (no preserves)
- Crisp Bread
- Plain sliced white & brown bread
- American muffins
- English muffins
- Spiced scones
- Tea cakes

7. Preserves
- Marmalade
- Honey
- Plum
- Cherry
- Jam

8. Beverages
- Tea
- Coffee
- Hot chocolate
- Tisanes
- Proprietary Beverages
- Milk

Other types of breakfasts

Café simple
Only coffee is served for breakfast, with nothing else to eat.

Thé simple
Only Tea is served for breakfast, with nothing else to eat.

Café complet
The term ‘café complet’ is widely used in continental Europe and means a continental breakfast with coffee as the beverage.

Thé complet
The term ‘Thé complet’ means a continental breakfast with tea as the beverage.


A meal originating in America, being a combination of breakfast and lunch. This type of meal is commonly eaten on Sundays, when people gather around the table in a relaxed atmosphere between 10am to 2 pm. The menu combines traditional British breakfast items with those of a cold meal: cereals, bacon, and fried or scrambles eggs, salads of fruits and green vegetables, pancakes with jam or maple syrup, fruit juice, tea or coffee. Pies and cold meats may also be served. There is often a fruit loaf (called the coffee cake), corn bread or French toast (slices of bread dipped in beaten egg, then fried and sprinkled with sugar) served in this meal.


It is the midday meal in many English speaking countries. The world was introduced into France in the first half of the 19th century and is used for a cold buffet served at a reception where a large number of guests have to be catered for. In addition to canapés, a lunch of this type consists of cheeses, fruits; petit fours, chilled puddings and a few larger dishes such as fish an aspic and old hams.

Cultural variations within Europe have divided them into siesta loving and snacks eating people. The British claim that after a heavy meal, efficiency is reduced. Therefore, they avoid any such item which is greasy and soft and saucy. They enjoy dry, easy to eat items like sandwiches and savories with coffee and tea to make them easy to gulp. British nonetheless eat a heavy breakfast

On the other hand Europeans enjoy an excellent lunch with several courses. They however skip heavy breakfasts, call themselves continental. French, Italian, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese are the ones who enjoy heavy lunch followed by a siesta The ideal time for lunch is between 12 noon to 3 p.m. The menu is similar to dinner but not identical. For e.g. appetizer is preferred to soup, more cold items, a beer or a soft drink to wet the gullet, fish to heavy roast or raised items, less accompaniment, a cold sweet to a hot sweet, prefer tea to coffee.

Afternoon Teas
The old English tradition of taking afternoon tea at 4 o’clock is slowly dying out and in its place the trend is towards ‘tea and pastries’ only, the venue changing from the hotel lounge to the coffee bars and tea gardens. This trend is due to two main factors, the first being the problem of the staffing of the afternoon period between lunch and dinner, and the second being a simple case of economics in that in order to make the service of afternoon tea pay the hotelier would have to charge a price unacceptable to the public.
However afternoon tea is still served in many establishments and in a variety of forms which may be classified into three main types:
a) full afternoon tea as served in a first class hotel;
b) high tea as served in a popular price restaurant or café;
c) the reception or buffet tea.
Full Afternoon Tea
This is usually served in the hotel lounge by the lounge waiters or by a small brigade drawn from the restaurant on a rota basis. The lounge tables will be used and are covered with an afternoon tea cloth which may be white or coloured. A buffet table may be set up in one corner of the lounge, preferably with immediate access to the stillroom and service area. It would be set up as a sideboard with all the necessary equipment for serving and relaying the afternoon teas.
The menu will usually consist of some or all of the following items which are served in the order in which they are listed.

1. Hot beverage: variety of tea, tisanes and coffees
2. Assorted afternoon tea sandwiches – Smoked salmon, cucumber, tomato, sardine, egg, Gentleman’s relish
3. Hot buttered toast, Tea cakes, crumpets, scones( with butter or whipped/clotted cream), muffins etc
4. Brown and white bread and butter, fruit bread and butter, raspberry or strawberry jams
5. Gâteaux, pastries, iced cakes, sweet dishes etc
With reference to the menu above:
1. Toast, tea cakes, and crumpets are obtained from the stillroom as ordered and are served in a soup plate or welled dish with a silver cover on an under plate. An alternative to this would be the use of a muffin dish which is a covered silver dish with an inner lining and with hot water in the lower part of the container. It is essential that all these items are served hot. When serving hot buttered toast for afternoon tea, the crusts from three sides are removed, and the toast is then cut into ‘fingers’ with part of the crust attached to each ‘finger’.
2. The sandwiches are sent from the larder already dressed on silver flats and these are set out on the buffet prior to service.
3. The scones and assorted buttered breads are obtained from the stillroom and are dressed on doilies on silver flats and are also set out on the buffet. Preserves are also obtained from the stillroom, either in individual pots or in preserve dishes, both of which are served on a doily on an underplate and with a preserve spoon.
4. Gâteaux and pastries are collected already dressed up on doilies on silver flats or salvers from the chief pâtissier. An alternative to this would be the use of a pastry trolley.

Cover for afternoon tea
1. Side plate.
2. Paper serviette.
3. Side or tea knife.
4. Pastry fork.
5. Tea cup and saucer with a tea spoon.
6. Slop basin and a tea strainer.
7. Sugar basin and tongs.
8. Tea pot and hot water jug stands or underplates.
9. Jug of cold milk.
10. Preserve dish on a doily on an underplate with a preserve spoon.
11. Ashtray.
Items 9 and 10 may be brought to the table only when the guests are seated and are not part of the basic mise-en-place.
Service of afternoon tea
As soon as the order has been taken, the top copy of the check is sent to the stillroom for the beverage and any toasted items that may be required. While these are being prepared, items 9 and 10 of the cove listed above are set on the table.
The beverage will be served first making sure that the teapot, hot water jug and milk jug are placed to the right of the hostess of the party and with the handles correctly positioned for easy pouring. The toasted items are served next and are followed in turn by the other savoury items and then the assorted buttered breads with the appropriate preserve.
The side plate will then be changed before serving the pastries. There are three alternative methods for the actual service of the food, this depending on the type of establishment and style of service being employed, and also the number of staff available. These are as follows:
a) Silver service direct from the various silver flats
b) As for a) but with all the flats on a trolley which is wheeled from table to table.
c) The waiter plates up the food at the buffet with the appropriate portions and the plates are all set on the table. This method has obvious disadvantages in that it is time wasting and uneconomical.


The main meal of the day. This is normally eaten in the evening or in the middle of the day (instead of luncheon). In France before the Revolution, dinner was eaten in the morning or at midday. It is generally thought that the French word diner is derived from the Latin disjunare (to break the fast), as is déjeuner, the French word for lunch. This is because the word was originally used for the morning meal that was eaten after Mass, first at 7 a.m. and later at 9 or 10 a.m. It consisted of bacon, eggs and fish and was one of the two main meals of the day, the other being supper (the tenth hour or 10 o’ clock) or from the words of the blessing dignare dominum, or even from the Greek word deipnon (the meal eaten after sunset)

The hour for eating dinner became progressively later when the daily rite of Mass was observed less strictly and, in time, the habit of light meal on rising developed. This meal, the déjeuner, later became the petit déjeuner (breakfast) Dinner was at midday in the reigns of Louis XIII and Louis XIV and Furetiére describes the meal thus. Midday is the normal time for dinner. When one wants to go and see people, it is advisable to do so between 11 o’ clock and midday, certainly not later, for then one would be preventing them from taking their meal.

In the 18th century, dinner was moved on to 2 p.m. but supper often remained the principle meal of the day. Finally, at the time of Revolution dinner was eaten at the end of the afternoon, lunch was taken at midday and supper was served (in the towns) where there was a soirée. In the country, there was less change and supper continued to be the main meal for a considerable period of time

Today dinner usually takes place at 7p.m., earlier in Scandinavian countries and later in Mediterranean countries. It may be a formal occasion for receiving guests. Alexander Dumas defined dinner as the principle act of the day that can be only carried out in a worthy manner by people of wit and humor, for it is not just sufficient to eat at dinner. One has to talk with a calm and discreet gaiety. The conversation must sparkle like the rubies in the entremets wines; it must be delightfully suave with the sweetmeats of the dessert and become very profound with the coffee. According to Chef Denis composition of a formal dinner must be varied and abundant and hot dishes must alternate with cold ones. For a big occasion he recommends consommé followed by a cold entrée a large hot entrée, a sorbet, a hot roast, a cold roast, vegetables, sweet dessert patisserie and fruit. This prescription is now simplified to consommé, fish served in a sauce, roast meat and garnish and patisserie. Some gastronomes advice against serving cheese at dinner.

In the family household the main meal of the day varies according to the working patterns of the adults and whether they have children. Whether the evening meal consists of dinner or supper is very much a matter of lifestyle. Where both adults work dinner is likely to be an evening meal and lunch a light snack. Children at home may well be served a main meal in the middle of the day and the whole family may have a dinner at this time on a Sunday. Although few people live close enough to their place of work and have someone at home to prepare dinner during the day, in retired households the main meal maybe eaten instead of lunch. It is also worth remembering that major social changes of the 20th century greatly influenced eating patterns. Meals are no longer subject to rigid definitions, eating patterns vary between weekdays and weekends and individual or family choices dominate


A light meal taken in the evening. Originally the only evening meal (now called dinner), supper usually consisted of soup (hence the name) was eaten relatively early. The fashion for supper as an intimate late dinner became established in French high society in the 18th century. Saint-Simon recalls the famous suppers of the Regent hotel: for small suppers, dishes were prepared in kitchens specially set up on the same floor, using utensils made of silver. The roués often gave the cooks a hand, rich and extravagant dishes were prepared, included marinated wild boar kidneys, oysters with cream, followed by cakes, tarts, salads and entremets (pig’s trotters Sainte-Menehould, peas with poached eggs , apples a la chinoise)

Until the midnight of the 19th century, supper was the essential conclusion of any successful high-society evening. At a ball, the orchestra gave the signal for supper by means of a fanfare. Gradually however the supper was abandoned (one reason was the expense). It was sometimes replaced by buffets or refreshments brought on trays an sometimes, very late in the evening, by a punch or pastries. At dawn the guests were revived with tea, broth, chocolate, coffee, sandwiches and wines. However private households continued to hold quiet supper: ‘When only a chosen few are left in the drawing room, the master of the house gathers them together quietly around a table concealed in some cozy nook, and there they see in the day, chatting about events of the past night. Wit and appetite normally find their best openings in these private suppers, which have a certain smack of the forbidden fruit.’ The supper vogue also became established with restaurateurs of the time, especially those who had private rooms.

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