Saturday 24 May 2014

The Most Important Breakfasts In History – Free Recipe Book Download

My breakfast al desko

Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day but sometimes it can be the hardest to make interesting. I’m sure most people do the same thing as me – grab the same thing every day as they are in a hurry before work. In fact I bring my breakfast into work and eat it at my desk before other people get in, and usually take a low fat yogurt or some cereal. I’ve recently been making more of an effort though and put together my own breakfast pot, with a layer of Dorset Cereals muesli on the bottom, then some fat-free Greek yogurt with a little Splenda and some tinned or fresh fruit on top. By the time I get to work the yogurt has softened the muesli a little and it tastes delicious

I recently started seeing a persona trainer in the gym however, who told me that I should be eating protein for breakfast, and didn’t particularly need carbs first thing. She was especially keen that I cut out sugar, and pointed out that low fat yogurts are often full of sugar and there is sugar in the cereal as well (even if it isn’t a particularly ‘sugary’ one like Frosties- which was my favourite breakfast as a child).

At the weekends I often make brunch rather than breakfast and my boyfriend would be perfectly happy if I made him a bacon sandwich every Saturday and every Sunday. I don’t think fried streaky bacon (it has to be streaky, or it won’t crisp up enough) is particularly healthy though and I get bored of doing the same thing all the time so I try to come up with different ideas, which you will see from my Meal Planning Monday posts.

I was interested therefore when I was contacted by an organisation called Send a Cow with a free ebook of breakfast recipes. The book, called The Most Important Meals of Their Lives, features the breakfasts eaten by the likes of Einstein, Edison, Rosa Parks, Mother Theresa and the Apollo 11 crew. It was created to raise awareness of the importance of breakfast in helping children in the poorest parts of Africa achieve their true potential. The government will be doubling all the money that the charity raises until June 30th so you still have time to donate to help this good cause.

Jane Austen's breakfast

 Researchers at Send a Cow poured painstakingly over hundreds of historical records as well as speaking to experts, inspecting museum archives and analysing the personal correspondence and belongings of several famous individuals to find evidence of what they ate. The result is a collection of 18 recipes eaten or inspired by some of the world’s greatest pioneers. As Send a Cow puts it, What if Einstein hadn’t had his breakfast the day he cracked the theory of relativity? Or if Edison had skipped his brekkie the morning he, quite literally, had that light bulb moment? Would they have made those ground breaking discoveries on empty stomachs? Breakfast might be the most important meal of the day, but the dishes that fuelled the greats to change the world can arguably be considered as some of the most important meals of all time.

Some of the recipes included in The Most Important Meals Of Their Lives eBook:
1.     Albert EinsteinFried eggs and honey, with crisp rolls (purportedly eaten by Einstein during his time living in Caputh, Germany from 1929 – 1932)
2.     Rosa Parks: ‘Featherlite’ pancakes (when a cache of personal papers belonging to the great civil rights activist were auctioned, among them was an envelope with a recipe for “featherlite pancakes” written on the back)
3.     Mahatma GandhiPorridge and cocoa, goat’s milk (Gandhi spent a great deal of time experimenting with food to find the perfect diet. Famously a vegetarian, one-time fruitarian, and drinker of goat’s milk, records show that Gandhi was known to have often eaten a simple breakfast of porridge and cocoa)
4.     Florence NightingaleKedgeree (Nightingale took particular interest in the diets of both her patients and herself. She enjoyed food, one of her few pleasures once she had begun to suffer from ill health and spent a lot of time confined to her home. In particular, Florence Nightingale was known to be fond of curry)
5.     Winston ChurchillPoached egg, toast with jam and butter, cold meats, grapefruit, whisky, cigar (during a flight to the USA Churchill famously amended the in-flight breakfast menu to suit his tastes)
6.     Nelson MandelaUmphokoqo, a porridge made from maize and sour milk (according to his personal chef, Mandela always craved the flavours from his childhood, in particular this traditional African porridge recipe)
7.     Abraham LincolnKentucky corn cakes (Honest Abe was said to be able to “eat corn cakes twice as fast as anyone could make them”)
8.     Charles DarwinGame or fowl and eggs (in an 1865 letter to his doctor Darwin detailed how he was following this high-protein diet alongside a “daily dose of muriatic acid with cayenne and ginger” in a bid to alleviate his litany of illnesses)
9.     First men on the moon“Intermediate Moisture” bacon squares, sugar cookie cubes, dehydrated peaches, coffee and rehydratable pineapple-grapefruit drink (this recipe is taken directly from the flight menu of Apollo 11 and would have been the breakfast eaten by Armstrong on the day he took one “giant leap for mankind”)
10.  Thomas EdisonApple dumplings and milk (the man who brought the light bulb to the world was once quoted as saying that a breakfast of apple dumplings was the “finest repast of his life”)
Shakespeare's breakfast
The book also lifts the lid on the daily lives and routines of some of the world’s most influential people. Charles Darwin, for example, may forever be remembered for the theory of evolution, but he was also an early pioneer of a low-carb approach, and was experimenting with a cayenne pepper diet over a hundred years before Beyonce got there.

The free The Most Important Meals Of Their Lives eBook follows research highlighting how up to one in every three (34%) people in Uganda and almost a third (29%) in Rwanda are gravely undernourished[4] - an estimated 15 million people. Without full stomachs youngsters struggle focus on their school lessons and are prevented from realising their individual potential. Send a Cow’s Break… Fast appeal aims to raise £500,000 to give children in Africa a better start, and every £1 donated will be doubled by the UK government.

Winston Churchill's breakfast

Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening, said: “We know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but too many children are not getting that vital head start. Across Uganda and Rwanda, 15 million are gravely undernourished. Given the right chance, any one of those children could be the next Florence Nightingale or Neil Armstrong.

"We will beef up Send a Cow’s appeal by matching pound for pound all public donations to the Break…Fast appeal so we can change thousands of young lives. Just a £2.50 donation, when doubled, is enough to ensure a child can get all the benefits of a nutritious breakfast for an entire month.”

Simon Barnes, CEO of Send a Cow, commented: “Research shows that a full stomach plays a key role in doing well in education. With the opportunity to eat a healthy breakfast every morning, children in some of the poorest parts of Africa will have the vital nutrients they need to go to school and concentrate on their lessons. And if they can prosper in their education they have an excellent chance of breaking free from poverty and achieving their true potential.”

The Most Important Meals Of Their Lives book can be downloaded for free by visiting There is a suggested a donation of £2.50 to the Break… Fast appeal – when doubled this is enough to support an African child for a month. The UK government is matching all donations to the Break… Fast appeal from now until the 30th June 2014.

Disclaimer: The quotations from Justine Greening and Simon Barnes and the photographs were provided by Send a Cow, along with information about the appeal. I was asked to help publicise this cause and recipe book but was not compensated for doing so. I have personally made a donation to the charity as well.

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