The chair of the English Breakfast Society is urging people to add pineapple to their breakfast… And Brits don’t seem too thrilled about it.
After last week’s salt-in-tea fiasco, here’s another one that is sure to make British eyelids rage-twitch…
Let’s ease you in with a question.
How do you feel about pineapple?
A tasty and refreshing fruit that is chock-a-block full of vitamin C?
A godsend when it comes to health benefits, especially battling all kinds of infection and countering the bitter taste of semen when the fruit is eaten (or drunk) regularly?
The destroyer of pizzas, whose mere presence on the Italian mainstay is the equivalent of opening the gates of hell and abandoning all hope in humanity – kill it, kill it with fire?
Whichever camp you’re in, the nutritious fruit could – and apparently should – be coming to your favourite greasy British breakfast classic.
The English Breakfast Society, which is dedicated to the history, heritage, and culture of the English breakfast, has called for the fruit to replace the grilled tomatoes and mushrooms that are usually served with a full English breakfast.
Before we continue, let’s take a moment to: A) Remind you what constitutes a full English Breakfast; and B) dwell on how great it is that this society exists in the first place.
The Sunday morning classic usually consists of bacon, eggs (usually fried, sometimes poached), sausages, mushrooms, baked beans, hash browns, black pudding, grilled tomatoes and toast. Lots of toast. And if you’re in Scotland, you’ll get *whisper it* the superior version with haggis, white pudding and oatcakes.
As for the society itself, what kind of accoutrement would you say they don for their Illuminati-style conclaves? Are you thinking ceremonial robes, complete with baked bean hooded cloaks, ornate sausage staffs, and a not-so-subtle gold encrusted emblem of crossed toast slices that denote both tastiness with a side helping of culinary menace?
Yeah, us neither.
Anyhoo – back to the divisive fruit.
The society has said that pineapple had been eaten with a full English breakfast in the past.
Guise Bule de Missenden, the society’s founder and chair, told the Daily Telegraph: “Interestingly, in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, the pineapple was considered to be a high-status breakfast item in Great Britain. Pineapples used to be seen as exotic, expensive, difficult to obtain and were a highly prized breakfast ingredient for wealthy English families, which is why you can find lots of old English pineapple breakfast recipes.”
He’s not wrong, in this respect. Pineapples used to be a symbol of high status.
They were first brought to Europe after Christopher Columbus stumbled upon them in Guadeloupe in 1493 and brought them back to Spain. They were in high demand (and low in supply), and therefore came to symbolise opulence. Charles II even commissioned a painting of his gardener presenting him with one. You’ll also find the fruit on certain buildings, as they were incorporated into architecture as a mark of wealth, including on top of the towers at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, the obelisks in Lambeth Bridge, carved along the top of Hanbury Hall, and even the Wimbledon gentlemen’s singles trophy. Now you know.
Bule de Missenden continued: “A slice of grilled pineapple can add variety to the English breakfast plate. Simply swap the mushrooms or tomato for a grilled pineapple slice in someone’s English breakfast one day to give them a surprising and unexpected delight.”
He added, boldly: “Nobody really likes the tomatoes that usually come with a full English breakfast so why shouldn’t we swap them for a grilled pineapple slice?”
Not surprisingly, reactions have been… less than enthusiastic.
David George, writing for National World, proclaimed that the English Breakfast Society had “gone mental”, that they were “tampering with something sacred”, and that “this whole trend of mixing sweet and savoury needs to die a quick death.”
Clearly, my first-namesake has not tried my sacred sweet potato fries or my maple-glazed bacon strips. Poor lad.
Others on X chimed in:
“No, thank you, not a chance.”
Fair enough. To each their own.
“They couldn’t be more wrong. This is the wrongest thing I’ve read all year.”
The year’s still young – be patient, my sweet summer child.
“Fruit on a fry-up is a terrible idea.”
Who’s going to take one for the team and break the news to this social media user of tomato’s true identity?
“Lines have to be drawn.”
I’ve got nothing.
There is an outside chance that the English Breakfast Society is just fond of stirring the pot, as they are no strangers to controversy. For instance, they previously declared that hash browns needed to end in favour of more traditional bubble and squeak (cooked potatoes and cabbage).
Bule de Missenden said last year: “Somebody had to put their foot down. Otherwise we’ll find kebab meat in our English breakfast before long.”
Pompously glorious name or not, I’m feeling less keen about Bule de Missenden and the battles he’s picking.
As per usual, the old rule stands: don’t knock til you’ve tried it. Much like the controversial recipe for the perfect cup of tea, I’ll be embracing this pineapple business for my next English breakfast, celebrating that at the very least that I’m getting one of my recommended five-a-day.
But I’m not sacrificing the mushrooms and tomatoes.
Lines have to be drawn. Apparently.