“The Regency English Breakfast”
Jenna Jaxon, author of To Woo a Wicked Widow
Book 1 in the The Widows’ Club Series
Breakfast during the Regency was vastly different than the morning meal we all know and enjoy. Everything from the time it occurred to the setting, the food, and drink were all appreciably different than we know today. If you were whisked back to 1816 for a day, say, you would find much different in this most traditional meal.
The first thing you would notice is that the time of day for breakfast during the Regency was variable, depending on whether one was in the country or the city. Country hours tended to be earlier, usually between 8:00 and 10:00 o’clock, though closer to 8 than to 10. Both ladies and gentlemen tended to rise well before they sat down to eat, attending to some daily business, such as letter writing, dealing with servants, reading, or walking. In the city, men and women of leisure would breakfast later, from 10:00 until almost noon. A married woman had the prerogative of having her breakfast served to her in her bed chamber, while everyone else would eat in the breakfast room. Morning hours, during the Regency, could extend until 3:00 in the afternoon.
Beverages would include coffee, tea, and chocolate, although it was not unheard of for ale to be served to the men. Drinking chocolate of the Regency was very different from our modern hot chocolate. It is less sweet, much thicker, and a bit grittier as the beans were ground by hand into a powder to which milk and sugar are added, and then the concoction was whipped.
The food served at breakfast would be closest to what we serve today, although depending on the occasion, it could range from quite simple to vastly elaborate. Generally, a simple Regency breakfast for a family would consist of toasted bread or rolls with jam or marmalade, perhaps eggs and ham or sausage links. Depending on the custom of the house, servants might serve the food at the table or a series of warming pans might be placed on a sideboard where members would serve themselves.
A more elaborate spread might be found if one had guests. Author Samuel Johnson was a guest of Margaret Dodd at a “simple” breakfast, which he detailed included “oatmeal with sweet cream, smoked herrings, sardines with mustard sauce, grilled trout with white butter sauce, cold grilled pies, grilled kidneys, sausages with mashed potatoes, beef tongue with hot horseradish sauce and ‘enough bacon to feed a hungry army.’”
As you can see, breakfast Regency style could be as elaborate or as simple as the master or mistress desired and a delicious way to start anyone’s day.
About TO WOO A WICKED WIDOW
The war years are behind them.
The future is before them.
And one by one, the widows of Lyttlefield Park are getting restless . . .
Lady Charlotte Cavendish is still the spirited girl who tried to elope in the name of love. That dream was thwarted by her father, who trapped her into a loveless, passionless marriage. But now widowed, Charlotte is free to reenter the giddy world of the ton—and pursue her desires. For hardly your typical widow, she remains innocent to the pleasures of the flesh. Yet her life is finally her own, and she intends to keep it that way . . .
Nash, the twelfth Earl of Wrotham, is beguiled by Charlotte at first sight—and the feeling is mutual. When he receives her intriguing invitation to a house party, the marriage-minded lord plans to further their acquaintance. But even he cannot sway her aversion to matrimony, and only with great restraint does he resist her most tempting offer. For unbeknownst to Charlotte, the misadventures of the past are revisiting them both, and bedding her could cost him everything—or give him everything he ever wanted . . .
About the Author
Jenna Jaxon is the author of The House of Pleasure House series, as well as the historical romance trilogy Time Enough to Love. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets. When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director. Visit her at jennajaxon.wordpress.com, or on the social media platforms below.