The Origin and History of Breakfast

The origin and history of breakfast begin with the earliest recorded instances of a morning meal dating back to ancient times. Good morning, foodies and history buffs!

Breaking The Fast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? But have you ever wondered how it all started? The origins of breakfast are thought to date back to the ancient world, when people would break their fasts with a simple meal before starting their day. The first known reference to breakfast in English dates back to the 15th century, when it was mentioned in a work by author Thomas Nashe. Since then, breakfast has become an important part of our daily routine, and there are many different ways to enjoy it.

The term “breakfast” comes from the combination of two words: “break” and “fast.” The word “fast” refers to the period during which one doesn’t eat, often for religious or medical reasons. The word “break” means to end or interrupt something. So “breakfast” literally means to break the fast that was observed during the night or early morning hours.

The word “breakfast” has been in use in English since the 15th century, although the concept of breaking the fast in the morning dates back much further. Breakfast as a regular meal became more common in Western Europe during the 16th century, particularly among the wealthier classes. Today, breakfast is widely recognized as an important meal that helps to provide the energy and nutrients needed to start the day.

Today we’re taking a trip down memory lane to explore the fascinating and delicious origins of breakfast. From ancient times to present-day brunches, buckle up for a mouth-watering journey through the history of breakfast.

The Origin and History of Breakfast

The first breakfast foods

The first breakfast foods were simple and easy to prepare. The most common food items were bread, cheese, and fruit. Breakfast was typically eaten in the morning, before starting the day’s work.

Over time, breakfast became more elaborate. Hot dishes such as porridge and eggs were added to the menu. These days, there is no set rule for what should be eaten for breakfast. Anything from a light snack to a full-blown meal can be enjoyed first thing in the morning.

In ancient Egypt, it was common for people to eat a breakfast of bread and beer, while in ancient Greece, breakfast was a light meal consisting of bread dipped in wine or water. In ancient Rome, breakfast was typically a simple meal of bread and cheese, or occasionally leftovers from the previous night’s dinner.

During the Middle Ages in Europe, breakfast was not a formal meal and was often skipped altogether. Instead, people typically ate two main meals a day – a midday meal and a late afternoon or evening meal.

It wasn’t until the 17th and 18th centuries that breakfast began to emerge as a distinct meal in Europe, particularly in England. The upper classes began to adopt the practice of eating a morning meal consisting of bread, meat, and ale, while the lower classes continued to rely on porridge or gruel as their primary breakfast food.

In the 19th century, breakfast became more popular and diverse in both Europe and America. Cereals and other packaged breakfast foods, such as oatmeal and cornflakes, were invented, and eggs, bacon, and other breakfast meats became more common.

Today, breakfast is considered an important meal in many cultures and is often touted as the most important meal of the day. It is often eaten in a variety of forms, including cereal, toast, eggs, fruit, and pancakes, among others.

How breakfast has changed over time

In modern times breakfast has continued to change. In the past, people usually ate breakfast at home. They would eat items like eggs, bacon, toast, oatmeal, and pancakes. Breakfast was typically a pretty simple meal.

Nowadays, there are far more options for breakfast. People can eat out at restaurants, grab breakfast on the go, and with the advent of technology can simply search on their mobile phones for “Breakfast sandwiches near me” and retrieve a list of options. Or, they can even have breakfast delivered to them. There are also a lot more food options available. You can now find items like acai bowls, smoothies, yogurt parfaits, and avocado toast at most breakfast spots. Plus, there’s a lot more variety when it comes to flavors and toppings.

While some people still prefer a simpler breakfast of eggs and toast, others enjoy trying new and different things for their morning meal. Whether you like to keep it classic or experiment with different flavors, there’s a breakfast out there for you.

The importance of breakfast

There are many reasons why breakfast is so important. It helps us start our day on the right foot by giving us the energy and nutrients that we need to get going and sustain us. Breakfast also helps us focus and concentrate throughout the day. And last but not least, breakfast is a great way to bond with family and friends over a shared meal. But certain breakfast foods were also ‘doctor’s orders’ as described in this article entitled “The Secret History of Breakfast” on Mashed.

So, whether you enjoy a hearty plate of eggs and bacon or a simple bowl of cereal, make sure to start your day with breakfast!

Breakfast around the world

There are many different ways that people enjoy breakfast around the world. In America, a typical breakfast might consist of pancakes or waffles with syrup, eggs, bacon or sausage, and coffee. But in other countries, breakfast looks very different.

In Japan, a common breakfast dish is rice with miso soup and pickled vegetables. Fish is also often served as part of a Japanese breakfast. In China, congee (a rice porridge) is popular, and may be served with pickled vegetables, peanuts, and pork.

In Mexico, huevos rancheros (fried eggs on tortillas) are a favorite breakfast food. Guatemalan breakfasts often include tamales (cornmeal dumplings), while Puerto Ricans typically enjoy ripe plantains with eggs.

No matter where you are in the world, there is sure to be a delicious breakfast waiting for you!


Breakfast has a long and interesting history that spans centuries and different cultures. From the simple toasts of Ancient Rome to the rich feasts of Medieval Europe, to today’s modern convenience foods – breakfast has evolved into something bigger than itself. Breakfast may have changed over time but one thing remains constant – it is an important part of our everyday lives and it can provide us with the energy we need for a productive day!

Read more about breakfast in this article in The Atlantic.