How Did Breakfast Come to Be?

When you get up in the morning, more or less the first thing you will do is make some food. Your breakfast – breaking your fast – is one of the most important meals of the day. Eat the right thing, and your ‘brekkie’ can have you set up for hours to come. However, whether you enjoy a piece of toast, some cereal, a croissant, some bacon, or anything else, breakfast has an interesting history.

Breakfast was not always part of our daily routine, though, and the kind of meals we have for breakfast is quite modern. Things like pancakes, cereals, and even coffee are all (relatively) new inventions; therefore, what did we do before we had this kind of food in the morning? How did people get started?

Breakfast is a modern innovation in many ways – go back to the 13th century and the only people who ate in the morning were those who started work extremely early in the day. Also, morning fasting was seen as a religious observation and this was extremely common for centuries. Eating before the morning mass was seen as rude.

A large breakfast became necessary as more and more people began working for companies as opposed to working for themselves. This means that they needed more energy to get through longer working hours where they had no control over their working conditions or when they finished. Indeed, it was not really until the invention of the ‘9 til 5’ working schedule that breakfast became a common, mainstream meal.

The Industrial Revolution played a key role in this, creating a more scheduled working environment and meaning that more people simply needed the energy that breakfast provided.

Eggs, though, have long been a part of the breakfast ‘industry’ and were commonly available early in the morning back in the day. However, eating them with bacon? That is something that only really came into parlance in the 20th Century. Breakfast cereals came in the 19th Century, and they were typically eaten due to medical intervention by a doctor.

Indeed, it was Dr. Harvey Kellogg – he of Kellogg’s fame – that came up with the idea for breakfast cereals and granolas to give our bodies something to kickstart the day with.

So, breakfast is still a modern innovation in comparison to many things which are a normal part of our day-to-day routine. For that reason, it should come as no surprise that breakfast itself is still seen as ‘new’ in the eyes of many.