what’s in the full, cooked Scottish breakfast, do you know?


95% of writers have a day job, including some very well known ones. This is taken from an article called Author Day Jobs in the Huffington Post …

Charlotte Brontë was a grossly underpaid governess before she made it big, and Stephen King was a high school teacher. Douglas Adams was a security guard, Kurt Vonnegut worked at a Saab dealership, and Jack London was an “oyster pirate,”whatever that means. The path to authorial fame is a rough and uncertain one, so scores of literary greats have paid the bills by working strange and interesting day jobs.”

I have a day job, in fact I have two, although I don’t think my day jobs are particularly strange or interesting, but then again … ? Some of you may know I am director of the online writing school, writingclasses.co.uk, which is celebrating its tenth year this year, yeh hey!  But what you may not know is I also have a small Bed and Breakfast Guesthouse.




The nerve centre for writingclasses  is at the bottom of the garden, behind the monkey puzzle tree, in the ‘coach house and stables’ – a very grand name for a double garage, we’re like that in Edinburgh ;o) I run the school with Marc, who is the technical director. We have admin help and six tutors who are based, like our students, all around the world.

The Balmoral Guest House is an early Victorian, Edinburgh townhouse. When we bought the house I thought we’d have it for a year or two and move on, we’ve had it for over fifteen years now! Yikes! One day I’d like to stop at least one of my day jobs, so I can write all year round  and not just in the winter months, However, until then,  I get help to run the B&B. If I didn’t, I’d never get any writing done, ever.  Over the years we’ve had lots of different people work with us. This year we have Emmanuelle or Manu.  Manu is French and brilliant at cleaning. She’s been with us a few months now and is in Edinburgh learning English. Unfortunately, she’s only staying until December and being a true Scot, well, I’m already miserable at the thought of her leaving  🙁

Josée, my daughter, is the other half of the cavalry, especially in the summer when we’re really busy and she’s on her summer break from university. This year she took over completely, and together with Manu, ran the place brilliantly. She even introduced us to the use of vinegar instead of bleach to clean with – although Manu doesn’t like the smell ;o). I kid you not, vinegar is a fantastic cleaning product and not harmful to the environment! Josée also cooks  a mean full, cooked Scottish breakfast , taught by the best ;o) This leads me to the reason for this blog post and it’s nothing to do with writing. Today I came across a recipe for a full cooked Scottish Breakfast with fried onions in it. No! No! No! No! No! No!

One of the many things I have learned in the last fifteen years of running a guest house is that sharing your house with strangers has its ups and downs (more on that another day, hem!) and there are no onions in a full cooked Scottish breakfast!

Or am I wrong? Tell me what you think is in a full Scottish Breakfast and on Thursday I’ll show  you what we have in ours 🙂 You may even win a copy of The Blue Suitcase ;O)

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10 Responses to what’s in the full, cooked Scottish breakfast, do you know?

  1. Rosemary Kaye says:

    The ones I have seen vary from egg (usually fried), bacon & mushrooms to black pudding, Lorne sausage (maybe that’s just Aberdeen…), tomatoes, potato scones, sausages, fried bread…In a wonderful 5* B & B in Fordyce we were offered scrambled eggs with smoked salmon. Personally I can’t stand fry-ups, but my husband and daughters are only too happy to wade into any or all of the above – plus toast, tea, etc. Best ones they have had have been at the Strontian Inn, & the aforementioned Academy House in Fordyce.

    I suppose you could also add baked beans, if you really must. To me that would just make it even worse!

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Hi Rosemary, thanks for this. Scrambled eggs and smoked salmon sounds yummy, though we usually don’t do fishy things here because the smell tends puts off everyone else who’s not having fish! Your breakfast is pretty close, though, to what we do and to my idea of a great Scottish breakfast 🙂

      • Rosemary Kaye says:

        Things have changed so much since my childhood, where the standard guest house breakfast seemed to consist of a small bowl of prunes floating in something suspicious, an even smaller bowl of cereal, grudgingly given (and they only ever had cornflakes & All Bran), and maybe a kipper. Toast always (i) white sliced (ii) cold, and marmalade so cheap and sweet you could taste it all day. Dinner even worse, with those depressing bottles of lemon barley water, little metal dishes of overcooked vegetables, and something like tapioca (or a very small scoop of Walls) for pudding. Makes me think of the holiday Dulcie & Viola have in Barbara Pym’s ‘No Fond Return of Love.’

        As you can see, our family holidays were always a challenge…. 🙂

        • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

          Ha ha ha! Just before we moved into the house (fifteen years ago) I helped the previous owner with the breakfasts for a few days to see how it was done: she would set a pate of cornflakes out on the table for each guest (whether they wanted it or not), (and not a twig of All Barn in sight); toast was white, yes, and the only thing vaguely resembling fruit was an orange juice drink, which came, ready poured, in a glass by the bowl of cornflakes. The coffee came from a sachet and everything in the cooked breakfast was smothered in lard – and had been prepared earlier (hem!). the biggest surprise? The guests loved it! Yikes! We stopped these quaint traditions when we took over and seem to have survived ;o) I will look out No Fond Return of Love, it sounds great! Thanks again for stopping by. Your name will go in the hat at the end of the month to win a copy of The Blue Suitcase 🙂

  2. I have no idea what a Scottish breakfast may or may not be, but now I know which B&B to book in to when I come to Edinburgh! 😀

  3. I’m a great believer in cleaning with vinegar.

    Full Scottish breakfast: egg, bacon, sausage, haggis, potato scone (or hash brown or potato cake), baked beans with toast and Dundee orange marmalade on the side. Plus fruit juice and tea or coffee.

    Full veggie Scottish breakfast: egg, veggie sausage, veggie haggis, potato scone (or hash brown or potato cake), baked beans with toast etc.

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      yep, vinegar is a wonder cleaner, and the vinegary smell, which Manu complains about, disappears very quickly 🙂

      we used to offer potato scones as standard but so many guests returned them hardly touched we stopped. Guests can still have them, if they let us know the day before, ditto hash browns and veggie sausages.

      Personally, I’m not a big potato scone fan but maybe that’s because my mother was German and when I was growing up we didn’t have a typical Scottish breakfast, except for perhaps porridge occasionally 😉

  4. Cathy Harris says:

    onions in a Scottish breakfast… NOOOOOOOOOOOO, that’s almost blasphemous to a Scot lol, damn now I’m in the mood for a ‘fry up’ this weekend! I will blame my waistline expansion on you Marianne lol

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      no to onions at breakfast time, exactly! (or fried potatoes for that matter, another thing I read!?). have a lovely weekend, fry up or not 😉

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