Saturday, November 19, 2011

Breakfast Sandwich

Researching the history of bread-related products is difficult because bread is the universal food. Ancient peoples of all places discovered the combination of *cooked* (baked, fried, steamed, boiled, sun-dried) ground grain and water created simple, inexpensive, nourishing food. Muffins, cakes, crackers, biscuits, cookies, sticky buns & twinkies are not inventions. They are evolutions. All of these are variations on the theme of what happens when flour & water mix with human ingenuity, technological advancement, local ingredients, immediate need and cultural expectations.

What the food historians have to say about the origin of muffins... "Muffin...a term connected with moufflet, an old French word applied to bread, meaning soft....The word muffin first appeared in print in the early 18th century, and recipes began to be published in the middle of the 18th century. There has always been some confusion between muffins, crumpets, and pikelets, both in recipes and in name. Muffin' usually meant a breadlike product (sometimes simply made from whatever bread dough was available), as opposed to the more pancake-like crumpets...Muffins were most popular during the 19th century, when muffin men traversed the town streets at teatime, ringing their bells. In the 1840s the muffin-man's bell was prohibited by Act of Parliament because many people objected to it, but the prohibition was ineffective..."
Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999(p. 517)

"Muffin...In Great Britain, a muffin is a traditional light-textured roll, round and flat, which is made with yeast dough. Muffins are usually enjoyed in the winter - split, toasted, buttered, and served hot for tea, and sometimes with jam. In the Victorian era muffins were bought in the street from sellers who carried trays of them on their heads, ringing a handbell to call their wares. In North America muffins are entirely different. The raising (leavening) agent is baking powder and the muffins are cooked in deep patty (muffin) tins. Cornmeal and bran are sometimes substituted for some of the flour."
Larousse Gastronomique, Jenifer Harvey Lang editor [Crown:New York] 1988 (p. 703)

"Muffin...a small yeast cake usually sweetened with a bit of sugar. In England muffins were once called "tea cakes," while in America muffins are served primarily for breakfast or as an accompaniment to dinner...The origins of the word are obscure, but possible it is from Low German muffe [meaning] cake. The term was first printed in English in 1703, and Hannah Glasse in her 1747 cookbook fives a recipe for making muffins. Mush muffins (called slipperdowns in New England) were a Colonial muffin made with hominy on a hanging griddle."
Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Freidman Books:New York] 1999 (p. 211)

"Sometimes misnamed gems, muffins were baked in deeper pans and were not quite as breadlike as gems. Muffins graduated from being cooked in a utensil called muffin rings to a special baking pans. Muffin rings were hooplike accessories placed directly on a hot stove or the bottom of a skillet. Batter was then poured into them. The rings did not prove to be as popular with muffin consumers as molds of the same period. However, their demise as holders of raw muffin batter was not in vain, for they remain a valuable kitchen accessory to make popular English muffins or fried eggs. The muffin molds of the nineteenth century turned out to be an extremely deficient product. The baked their contents thoroughly and very evenly..."
The Old West Baking Book, Lon Walters (p. 34)

Breakfast Sandwich
Copyright 2011 Christine's Pantry. All rights reserved.

4 eggs, beaten
8 sausage links, crumbled
salt and pepper, to taste
4 English muffins
mayo, for spread
4 slices cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon butter
splash of water

In a skillet, brown sausage. Remove sausage from skillet. In a bowl, add eggs, salt, pepper and splash of water, whisk well. Pour eggs in skillet and add sausage. Gently fold eggs until cooked.

Spread mayo on each muffin, add cheese, egg and sausage. Enjoy!

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  1. Now you may just get me to eat breakfast!! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Looking at this I may have to start eating breakfast..Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks for this information I all ways thought muffins came from America and were made popular by Mcdonalds. I never ate or heard of muffins till my twenties. I just love your history and thank you for your research. Food history is fascinating.
    Perhaps I live in the wrong part of England or lived a sheltered live.

  4. Hi Christine,

    Your family has no excuse to go to McDonalds with a breakfast sandwich like this on the table! Nice post.


  5. Way better than egg mcmuffin ;D Yum !!

  6. Definitely way better than the other fastfood versions, this homemade breakfast look delicious!

  7. I would never, ever order one of these at a fast food restaurant, but I'd definitely make your version at home! YUMMY!

  8. I am not a breakfast person Christine but sure this sandwich can start my day with brunch. You bet the home version is healthy and more delicious.

  9. I love breakfast sandwiches!

  10. I love English muffins - don't have them here.... Have to settle for croissants ;-)

  11. I need to make these at home more often. Great way to start the day.

  12. I'm not a breakfast person, I usually grab a cup of coffee and go. But I love breakfast food, and I like to eat breakfast food for lunch or dinner.

    Thanks to all for all the comments. Your comments make me happy.

  13. Good stuff! I've sent you some breakfast buzz!

  14. Being a bread fanatic myself I really appreciate this information! Who knew something with such simple origins would end up with an endless amount of variations! I love breakfast food for dinner and so does Taylor. This will inspire a dinner this week I am sure of it. :)

  15. What a great idea my kids love these perfect timing they are staying overnight for Thanksgiving, an easy breakfast to make!

  16. I love breakfast foods so much, and this one looks awesome! It's a great, healthy, simple meal, I love it :)

  17. Hmmmm, maybe tonight should be a "breakfast for dinner" kind of night :-D

  18. Truth be told, I have not been all that partial to the muffin. Now breakfast foods, I could eat them daily.

  19. I would love to have this sandwich for breakfast =)


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