In cooking eggs and bacon, fried eggs are best. Have, as before, the eggs ready in a cup, each in a separate cup. As soon as the bacon is cooked, place it on the dish, and put it in front of the fire. Then slide the eggs into the frying-pan with the boiling bacon-fat. Do this slowly and carefully, the chief point being not to break the yolks. It is a mistake to have too much fat, as that seems to increase those large bubbles that form themselves under the white. Take care, also, not to have the fire too fierce, or the egg will get burnt at the bottom. In taking out the eggs with the strainer use the left hand \ and, if the white has spread itself too much round, or very unevenly, trim the white so as to have the yolk as much as possible in the centre. A knife will do for this purpose, but better still an old pair of easy-going scissors. Place these on the bacon, and look carefully over the dish, and wipe up with a cloth any appearance of " blacks" having mingled with the fat that has run off from the bacon, as this black grease, though perfectly wholesome, is disagreeable to the eye, and through the eye affects the palate.
We will next take another dish, cheap and nice— viz., bloaters. The objection to bloaters is the smell. If the cook has a private bloater for breakfast, the bloater himself informs you of the fact before you leave your bed. Now, bloaters cooked as they generally are—viz., whole—send forth a gust of extra flavour on being opened in the room. The best method of cooking them, therefore, is as follows:—First, shut the kitchen door; secondly, take off the heads, and split the bloaters open like a haddock. Have a perfectly clear fire, and having rubbed the gridiron with a piece of mutton-fat, place the bloater on it and grill it; four or five minutes will be ample time. When done, take a piece of butter, and after placing the bloater on a dish, with the skin-side downwards, rub the butter over the upper side of the bloater, and thus take off the dry appearance, and make it look moist. Bloaters cooked and sent to table this way are not nearly so disagreeable as in the ordinary way. Indeed, bloaters done this way often end up a bachelor's dinner-party at a club. Let us trust the claret is good.
The only way I know of getting good sausages for breakfast is making them at home. A sausage-machine soon repays itself, and is useful for many purposes besides making sausages, such as forcemeat, rissoles, etc.
The great advantage in making sausages at home is, first and principally, that you know what is in them; secondly, that you can flavour them to suit your taste. Some persons like sausages highly flavoured, some not. I will give you a recipe for sausages that I like myself, and would recommend you, if you like highly-seasoned sausages, to increase first the quantity of marjoram, secondly, the quantity of sage, and see which flavour you prefer. I would, however, warn you against increasing the quantity of lemon, as the result will probably be that you will taste the sausages not merely with your breakfast, but with your lunch and even your dinner, in a way better imagined than described.
The ingredients are as follows :—One pound of lean pork and half a pound of fat pork, or rather less ; one tea-spoonful of salt, half a tea-spoonful of pepper, half a tea-spoonful of dried marjoram, one-third of a small nutmeg, the sixth part of the rind of a lemon, three good-sized sage-leaves. First, of course, take care that the pork is perfectly fresh ; mince the lemon separately, as fine as possible, and mix it up with the other ingredients, having minced or powdered the sage-leaves. Cut up thefpork into little pieces, and having mixed all up together in a basin, pass the whole through a sausage-machine, taking care to send the part that comes out first through the machine a second time. Roll the sausage-meat into small balls— the quantity I have named would make quite sixteen —and fry these balls in a frying-pan, and send them to table on little square pieces of toast. The toast can be dipped in the fat that runs out of the sausage-meat into the frying-pan.
Kidneys make a nice breakfast dish, especially when sent to table in company with a little fried bacon. The general fault is that they are overcooked, and- consequently hard, tasteless, and indigestible. Some persons like kidneys absolutely blue inside when they are cut. This is, perhaps, going a little too far ; they should, however, always be cooked so that when placed on the dish some red gravy runs out. A good-sized kidney is best cooked split open on the gridiron, and as soon as it is done, placed on its round sides, and a little piece of butter put on each half, on to which a pinch of chopped parsley is dropped. Sometimes kidneys are sent up skewered on a little silver arrow. A little pepper should always be sprinkled over kidneys while they are cooking.
The best form of having fish for breakfast is, undoubtedly, plain grilled. When those very small soles called dabs can be obtained, the best method of cooking them is simply to dry them, flour them, and then cook them over a clear fire on a gridiron—rubbed, of course, with a piece of fat to prevent the fish from sticking. Fish sent up this way should be put on an ornamental piece of white paper. The fish, also, should show the marks of the gridiron in light-brown streaks. A little pepper and salt should be sprinkled on them before sending to table, and a piece of cut lemon can also be sent up with the fish for those who like lemon.
There are very many dishes I could mention that are suitable for breakfast; but one word to those— and many such exist—who consider hot breakfast extravagant: the only dish of which they approve being eggs eaten with bread-and-butter. I would first remind them that the eggs and the butter in the shape of an omelette would be just the same, as far as expense goes; but I would protest against the custom of the day of young men eating, comparatively speaking, no breakfast, but taking a heavy meat meal in the middle of the day, about one or two o'clock, and then going back to work. A look into the City dining-rooms in the middle of the day shows to how great an extent this practice is carried, and also suggests how very unintellectual the greater part of City work must be. To really work with the brains immediately after an early dinner is, if not impossible, at any rate very injurious. Probably the seeds of chronic dyspepsia are sown by this unwise habit.
What men should do is to eat a good hearty breakfast; take a light lunch, say a few biscuits, or at the outside a piece of bread-and-cheese and a glass of ale, if this latter has not the effect of incapacitating them for work; and then to make a good dinner at six or seven o'clock, or later, as the case may be.
There is one thing in connection with breakfast that should not be omitted to be mentioned, and that is coffee. How it is that, as a rule, good coffee can no more be obtained in England than tea in France, is difficult to say. One great secret, however, of French coffee is that it is always not only fresh ground, but fresh-roasted. I would therefore briefly advise you, in reference to coffee, first to buy it in the nibs, and grind it yourself; secondly, never to grind it till just before you want it; thirdly, before grinding it heat the coffee in the oven for a few minutes—this latter having the effect of bringing out the flavour; lastly, do not grudge the coffee.