Summer Banquet Blog Hop~Everyone to the Table – The Regency Breakfast Hour(s)

summer-banquet-hop-copy Welcome to Day 2 of the Summer Banquet Blog Hop. As part of the SBBH, I am giving away an autographed copy of three different titles (see below) from my catalogue. The giveaway is open internationally. Winners will be chosen at noon on Sunday, June 9. To be eligible, leave a comment below or connect the post to Facebook or Twitter. Random.org will choose the winners from all those who have participated. Be certain to visit the other authors involved in the blog hop for LOADS of great prizes.

food

How did those in Regency London begin their days? The answer is not so simple. Different classes when about their days in their distinct ways. They rose and ate at different times depending on their class structure. There was also distinct differences between the social habits of those who lived in London proper, usually referred to as the City, and those who lived in Winchester. As different as were the architectural structures for these two adjoining cities, so were there differences in the residents daily lives.

Nine of the clock was considered the “breakfast hour” by bankers, merchants, etc. The whole family gathered about the table. The said “breakfast” did not fit what we now think of the morning meal. Instead, it was bread and tea. Karl Moritz in his Travels in England (1782) described a typical breakfast: “The slices of bread and butter, which they give you with your tea, are as thin as poppy-leaves – But there is another kind of bread and butter usually eaten with tea, which is toasted by the fire, and is incomparably good. You take one slice after the other and hold it to the fire on a fork till the butter is melted, so that it penetrates a number of the slices all at one; this is called toast.”

M.Grosley wrote of his visit in A Tour to London, published in 1772:
“The Butter and Tea which the Londoners live upon from morning until three or four in the afternoon, occasions the chief consumption of bread, which is cut in slices, and so thin, that it does as much honour to the address of the person that cuts it, as to the sharpness of the knife.”

Robert Southey in Letters from England {used the pseudonym Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella (1807)} describes the breakfast table as holding a sporting a tea pot of silver of of fine porcelain, a smaller coffee vase.

The journeyman would take his breakfast at about eight of the clock. Normally, he would have been at work for 2-3 hours before breaking his fast. He, too, partook of bread and tea, which was available for sale at public houses. He could purchase it at the public house or the establishment would have it delivered to him.

The working man could also purchase a breakfast with tea from a street stall. Benjamin Franklin described his 1725 breakfast as one of “warm gruel, in which was a small slice of butter, with toasted bread and nutmeg.”

From Time and Work in England 1750-1830, by Hans-Joachim Voth, we discover, “Individuals would rise early, at around 6:00 in the morning. Within the next half-hour or so, people would start work. Breakfast would be taken later, at around 9:00 and afterwards. The morning’s work would finish with ‘dinner’–probably taken between 12:30 and 14:00. Work continued until late. For some, there was tea in the late afternoon, between 17:00 and 18:00. It would be common not to leave one’s work before 19:00. After the evening meal, people would go to bed at around 22:00.”  – 

From The Regency Town House, we learn, “After breakfast with the children, the first job of the lady of the house would be to talk to the housekeeper. It would be important for them to communicate about the other servants, making sure they were doing their jobs properly and behaving correctly above and below stairs.

They would also discuss the evening meal. If visitors were expected, the lady would choose meals that were lavish and unusual. (They loved showing off) When these matters were dealt with the wife would then check through the household accounts. Bills for meat, candles and flour would usually be paid weekly. When the early morning activities were finished, the social whirl would begin! High society ladies would either receive calls or visit others. Tea would be drunk and snacks eaten.”

Please visit my website (www.rjeffers.com) to view all 17 titles in my catalogue.

Winners will be chosen for each of these titles: Christmas at Pemberley; His: Two Regency Novellas; and A Touch of Mercy (Book 5 of the Realm Series). 

JeffersC@Pemberley HisCrop ATOMCrop

Visit the other participants in the Summer Banquet Blog Hop…
Random Bits of Fascination (Maria Grace)
Pillings Writing Corner (David Pilling)
Anna Belfrage
Debra Brown
Lauren Gilbert
Gillian Bagwell
Julie Rose
Donna Russo Morin
Regina Jeffers
Shauna Roberts
Tinney S. Heath
Grace Elliot
Diane Scott Lewis
Ginger Myrick
Helen Hollick
Heather Domin
Margaret Skea
Yves Fey
JL Oakley
Shannon Winslow
Evangeline Holland
Cora Lee
Laura Purcell
P. O. Dixon
E.M. Powell
Sharon Lathan
Sally Smith O’Rourke
Allison Bruning
Violet Bedford
Sue Millard
Kim Rendfeld

About reginajeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and historical romantic suspense.
This entry was posted in British history, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, Regency era and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Summer Banquet Blog Hop~Everyone to the Table – The Regency Breakfast Hour(s)

  1. Great information, Regina! This helps explain all those courses at dinner! (With tea and toast for breakfast, one would be pretty hunger by dinner time.)

  2. I have trouble with the words “dinner” and “supper.” We switch them in the South from the British usage.

  3. reganwalker says:

    At some point in the Regency, didn’t the women add a “luncheon;” and eventually, at some point as the time wore on, they were joined by the men. Dinner was at 5 or 6, as I recall, though the children could be fed earlier. Right?

    • It would be depend on which social class a person spoke of, Regan. My post dealt with the rising “middle class.”

    • My next book is set at the end of the Regency…early 1820s. I am hoping to have a Jewish character, but not have the stigma with which Georgette Heyer’s portrayal of a Jewish man created in some circles. My research has been centering on the those of the upper middle class moving into the upper class (i.e., bankers, tradesmen, etc.)

  4. Great post, Regina. I tweeted.

  5. Suzi Love says:

    Love reading about Regency meals. Thanks, Regina.

  6. Debra Brown says:

    I’d love to win one of your books!
    Imagine working in that kitchen. Whew!
    kescah at comcast dot net

    • When we think of such extravagance, we forget about the number of workers in the kitchen – without the conveniences of modern ovens, blenders, microwaves, etc.

  7. Might not be sure a bad idea to consume only tea (or coffee) and a slice of thin bread for breakfast. Then again, I would miss my granola or poached eggs!

  8. Sophia Rose says:

    I can’t believe working people subsided on so little until the evening. I guess it was healthier and definitely affordable. Interesting, thanks!

    • Less sugar, more vegetables, protein…all add up to better health. If the medical profession had caught up with the life style, perhaps the mortality rate would have been less.

  9. Lúthien84 says:

    It sure sounds like me for I have bread and beverage (not tea) for breakfast at around 8 o’clock when I’m working. Thanks for the info, Regina.

  10. Vee says:

    Such a simple start to the day wasn’t it? I still don’t mind a fresh piece of toast with butter . I used to skip breakfast altogether when I was younger and too busy for food 🙂 those days have long gone 😉 Thanks for a great article Regina. and the courses served for the Prince, astonishing!

  11. historyweaver says:

    I get supper and dinner mixed up Stateside. Nice history of breakfast which we pickedup over here. Of course, break Fast means you were doing something else during that time until 9:00. Thin toast and butter is too little. I like my yogurt and granola with fruit.

    • Growing up, we always said “dinner” for the evening meal. I think it came from the idea of eating the evening meal at a “diner.” “Supper” was an interchangeable term, but “dinner” was the preferred word. Our mid-day meal was “lunch.”

  12. Michelle Fidler says:

    I prefer the English breakfast of bacon and eggs, etc. They also ate kippers, but none of that for me. I’m talking about the heartier breakfasts that they eat in books set in Victorian times or the 20th century.

  13. Robin Helm says:

    I loved the article, questions, and answers, Regina. I’m writing my first Regency series now, and this is interesting and useful information. Please sign me up for your giveaway.

  14. Robin Helm says:

    If I’m referring to the upper class, what changes as far as the designation of dinner and supper? You said this article refers to the rising middle class.

    • The evening meal was “supper.” We Southerners have a tendency to say “dinner.” That was a mistake I made early on in my writing, and my editor did not know the difference either. I learned the hard way from a “know it all” fan. LOL!

  15. Michelle Parks says:

    Wow, and I get cranky if I don’t get my coffee as soon as I get out of bed!

    • I was never a coffee drinker, Michelle, but I recall my ex-husband’s shaky hand until he had had several cups of coffee to jump start his day.

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