Ancestral Breakfast Foods

It is fascinating what was eaten for breakfast by our ancestors, especially outside the home in the 1800s and early 20th century.

You would think most ate at home and that would include:

Many people lived in boarding houses or lodges and breakfast was not always available. They would then go to an establishment that served breakfast. In the early 1840s there were served a variety of breakfast dishes such as a selection of meats, eggs, toast, buckwheat cakes and Indian corn. Prices were reasonable like in St. Louis, Missouri in 1875 there was veal cutlet for 15 cents, liver and bacon for 15 cents, ham and eggs for 25 cents, poached eggs for 15 cents, an omelet for 15 cents, buckwheat cakes for 10 cents, and a slice of pie for 5 cents. Another popular breakfast item in the 1800s was oysters. There were served cold meat, jellied veal and rice for a full breakfast.

In 1900 a large breakfast could have: porridge, haddock, bacon and fried potatoes, brown loaf, toast, and honey; an omelet, crumpets, sardines, toast and preserves; cold tongue, apples; kippers, tongue toast, hot rolls; buttered eggs, and potted meat.

Cereals started in the 1880s and became very popular in homes and diners into the 20th century. In 1906 the Kellogg Company had introduced ‘Toasted Corn Flakes’. In the 1910s, oatmeal, fried hominy, peaches and biscuits were served.

People in the early 20th century were having lighter breakfast meals so cereal was perfect. Even single-serving small boxes of a cereal branch started to appear especially handy for restaurants and diners.

By the 1930s, light breakfast continued to be popular and event the time spent eating breakfast lessen from 30 minutes to ten minutes. If time at home was spent, it would to be to make the new Bisquick pancakes which came out in 1931. By the 1950s, if a person ate a meal out it most likely was lunch, next dinner and only 11% had breakfast outside the home. Introduced to homes was Eggo frozen waffles and Cocoa Puffs in the 1950s. For eating out, IHOP opened up in 1958 and Dunkin’ Donuts started in 1950.

Into the late 1960s and 1970s, a big change. Places like fast food locations of McDonald’s started adding fast breakfast items and it is still going strong with their Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit breakfast. In the 1960s came at home one might have Kellogg’s Fruit Loops or Pop-Tarts for breakfast. Today Burger King has French Fried Sticks; and Dunkin’ Donuts always attracted people with their donuts for breakfast.

Two items that have continued over time to be at breakfast are bacon and coffee.

Photo: 1910-Kellogg Company Ad for ‘Toasted Corn Flakes’.

Related Blogs:

Foods Eaten by Our Ancestors

Favorite Foods 1850-1900

Dinner Time

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