A Proper English Breakfast
By Vanessa Riley, author of A Duke, The Lady, & A Baby
Every English household looked forward to that first meal of the day, the breaking of the nightly fast. Whether served on Wedgewood platters, fine china, or even in pails, a proper breakfast during the Regency was defined by the diversity of the palate, timing, and who sat at the table or if they sat at all.
For a laborer hurrying to attend his lord or lady, he might consume a hasty meal around 6:00 a.m. A piece of stale bread layered with a slice of roast beef or mutton might be all the country steward or tenant farmer can get his hands upon at this early hour. He’ll toss it in a pale or handkerchief and nibble upon it while walking to work.
In London proper, a flower girl running to her stand might buy a hot cross bun from the bun seller with her pennies. She’d enjoy the nutmeg and cinnamon of the treat as she prepared for early shoppers in Covent Garden.
At 9:00 a.m., a gentleman who may have been out running errand needed his breakfast to offer buttered toast arrayed in a hearth roaster or speared with a toasting fork, plenty of muffins or rolls, and gobs of sweet raspberry jam or beehive honey. Tea and coffee would be served to brighten his spirits before he ventured out again to do his morning calls.
At 10:00 a.m., a grand lady might awaken, pull on her morning gown and come down to a elegant breakfast of hot or cold rolls, warm toast, and a choice of cakes—plumb or pound. The beverage selection for her best china would be hot tea, coffee, and chocolate coffee (hot chocolate).
There are exceptions to these breakfast start times particularly if you returned late from a ball the night prior. The Duke of Repington, one of Wellington’s best commanders and hero of my upcoming novel, A Duke, The Lady, and A Baby, liked a hearty meal to keep his men in peak marching condition. He desired an old English breakfast which included cold meats like roast beef, sturgeon, and an assortment of wine and ale in addition to tea and buttery toast.
The heroine, Patience Jordan, the former mistress of Hamlin Hall which Repington invaded, must disguise herself as a nanny to be near her son. When she’s tasked to serve the invading horde breakfast, Patience, an heiress from the West Indies, added Caribbean comfort food to their diet. The duke and his men raved about her coconut bread. One might say a war could start if she forwent baking it.
About the Author
Vanessa Riley writes Historical Fiction and Historical Romance (Georgian, Regency, & Victorian) featuring hidden histories, dazzling multi-culture communities, and strong sisterhoods. She promises to pull heart strings, offer a few laughs, and share tidbits of tantalizing history. Vanessa holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Stanford University and several other degrees from Stanford and Penn State Universities. Yet, her love of history and lattes have overwhelmed her passion for math leading to the publication of over 20+ titles. She’s President-Elect of The Beau Monde, a specialty chapter focusing upon Regency History. She’s a member of Georgia Romance Writers, NINC, and the Historical Novel Society, and a board member of the Christian Book Lovers Retreat. She enjoys writing on her southern porch with proper caffeine. Learn more about Vanessa Riley’s books and event and join her newsletter at www.VanessaRiley.com.
Created by a shrewd countess, The Widow’s Grace is a secret society with a mission: to help ill-treated widows regain their status, their families, and even find true love again—or perhaps for the very first time . . .
When headstrong West Indian heiress Patience Jordan questioned her English husband’s mysterious suicide, she lost everything: her newborn son, Lionel, her fortune—and her freedom. Falsely imprisoned, she risks her life to be near her child—until The Widow’s Grace gets her hired as her own son’s nanny. But working for his unsuspecting new guardian, Busick Strathmore, Duke of Repington, has perils of its own. Especially when Patience discovers his military strictness belies an ex-rake of unswerving honor—and unexpected passion . . .
A wounded military hero, Busick is determined to resolve his dead cousin’s dangerous financial dealings for Lionel’s sake. But his investigation is a minor skirmish compared to dealing with the forthright, courageous, and alluring Patience. Somehow, she’s breaking his rules, and sweeping past his defenses. Soon, between formidable enemies and obstacles, they form a fragile trust—but will it be enough to save the future they long to dare together?
Wonderful article. Gorgeous China
Amazing how different every ones life status is and experience.
Imagine this now, Much is deemed ‘proper’ but as I try to look at
it from every direction – I just can’t decide what really is proper for who?
I enjoy the thought of protecting people & reputations, that does include the child when you stand back &look at it. Versus now folks just run headlong into things damaging everyone involved under THE premise of Honesty?
Does that give the child the best life? Not if the parents are wrong for each other or not ready for the child. Many thing’s can be wrong for the child
instead of parents getting together. Depending on social economic level.
Excited to read the book. Probably more relaxed than my thoughts