A few months ago in a British pub, a handsome waiter approached my table and asked, “What do ya fancy, love? How about the Full Monty?”
I nearly fell off my chair. Images of muscular, male strippers danced before my eyes reminding me of the 1997 British comedy, The Full Monty.
Chippendales for breakfast?
Here? In a 16th century pub in tucked in the tiny village of Houghton Conquest in the Bedfordshire countryside?
I never knew that The Full Monty, a British slang term similar to our American phrase for the whole kit and caboodle, describes a full English breakfast, which means filled with the works.
The English are known for their tasty, copious breakfasts. The Full Monty can be made up of over 30 different foods with meat such as fried sausages also known as bangers and bacon cured from pig loin as staples. Add baked beans, 2 or 3 eggs (usually sunny side up) fried bread and fried mushrooms. The acidity in fried tomatoes, also a must, will help cut the grease.
Apparently for this meal, also called a Fry Up, they sauté everything but the kitchen sink. Their popular bubble and squeak consists of Sunday roast and vegetable leftovers mixed with potatoes forming a cake, and then fried in butter until it sizzles and pops. This concoction may be served in homes on Mondays, but usually full breakfasts are saved for brunch on weekends or to cater to tourists in hotels.
When our waiter brought our plates to the table, I struggled to distinguish a few ingredients, like black pudding – crispy slices of sausage made of oatmeal pork fat and blood – and kippers, flakes of smoked herring. But I didn’t need a medical degree to identify body parts such as the kidneys rolled in flour and fried in butter.
Potatoes – hash, chips, mashed or fried – remain the mainstay of the Full English breakfast. Coffee or tea usually accompanies the meal, although some hearty mates may prefer to wash it down with a pint. Other diners like to add a dash of ketchup, vinegary brown HP sauce, or Worcestershire sauce to the mix.
So go on, head to the pub for your favorite brew on Saturday night, but you may also want to return on Sunday morning to enjoy the Full Monty. Oh là là les anglais.