Breakfast, brunch, and break time, also known as “Elevenses”
Breakfast is the first meal of the day and is usually taken before 10.00. When a UK citizen says “I haven’t had breakfast yet”, it means they are incapable of working until they have had breakfast. When someone says “I don’t eat breakfast”, it means either they have better and more fulfilling things to do, or their system is too delicate to digest food before mid-day.
There as many choices for breakfast as there are people, but if you are staying in a hotel you will probably be offered either a cooked breakfast, or a continental breakfast. A cooked breakfast is very bad for you because it is fried and consists of all the “wrong things”. This means food that experts have decided is bad for you, even though it tastes delicious. A “full breakfast” (meaning “complete”) consists of eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato, mushrooms and toast, and, if you are in Yorkshire, Scotland or Ireland, black pudding. Try it.
A continental breakfast means “healthy” food such as cereal, porridge, dried fruit, fresh fruit, tea, coffee and something that looks like a croissant. French people will be disappointed. People who stay at airbnb’s eat a lot of continental breakfasts. Notice that in the UK, people think of a continental breakfast as somehow associated with Europe, and therefore not as satisfying as an English / Scottish / Irish / Welsh breakfast. You have been warned.
In London you will see people going to work carrying non-recyclable paper bags in which they have an expensive coffee and some type of pastry. Hipsters have porridge. Really busy people don’t eat anything at all for breakfast. Maybe a glass of designer water from Italy.
10.00 – 12.00 Brunch is a combination of breakfast and lunch, popular at the weekend. Brunch is for people who get up late. Brunch is also a good option for people who like to go to expensive restaurants, but can’t afford to have lunch there.
10.30 – 12.00 Coffee or “Elevenses”. You can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee any time between 10.30 and 12.00. It could be hours since you had breakfast, so probably you’ll need a light refreshment such as a double choc muffin.
Back in the 20th century we used to talk about “elevenses”, which means some kind of light refreshment at 11.00, often taken with friends. “Elevenses” sounds more exciting than “tea break”, but in fact there’s not much difference. In a department store, if a member of staff says, “I’m on my break now”, that means they are taking a break from their extremely tiring work, and drinking a well-earned cup of tea or coffee. “I’m on my break” means: “Do not ask me to do anything for the next 20 minutes.”