Although my time working at Buckingham Palace didn’t require me to do anything remotely like serving breakfast in bed to The Queen, it did give me the opportunity to observe correctly set trays being carried by the footmen as they scurried past my office to get from one side of the palace to the other.
We might not have quite the ‘Royal’ touch as we conjure up ways to treat our Mums on Mothers’ Day, but there’s no reason not to make an extra special effort. So, if you’ve decided a cooked breakfast is going to be the key event, don’t book that crowded café just yet! Read on for all the skills you’ll need to create the perfect Mothers’ Day breakfast – fit for a Queen!
Being the most important meal of the day, we need to start with the most important drink of the day (no, put down the wine glass) I’m talking coffee – or tea! English breakfast tea is best, served in a fine bone china cup, but a flat white coffee (double shot as standard) is my choice.
Fruit juice: freshly squeezed, of course, and presented in a crystal-cut glass!
Cereal: As well as serving Mum’s favourite brand of granola or muesli, why not provide her with an extra choice – even a box of Kellogg’s might be a welcome change. Just remember to keep the packets off the main breakfast table, (or tray if you’re serving it in the bedchamber!) and serve from the kitchen bench instead.
Milk: Full cream, skinny, soy, almond? Mum will have her preference so make sure that it is priority on the shopping list; but most importantly the milk should ALWAYS be served in a jug. I have a huge range in my pantry: like photo frames and vases, one can never have too many!
Bacon and eggs: Grilled to perfection (the bacon that is), and eggs (free range): scrambled, poached or fried, to complement. If you must insist on sauce – and yes, I do – decant into ramekins or small serving dishes. Hollandaise sauce is a perfect accompaniment. It doesn’t have to be home-made unless you happen to be a budding MKR contestant, but when I can’t be bothered, the Maille brand is a perfectly good substitute and is available in any of our leading supermarkets.
Bread: A white sourdough or a stoneground wholemeal – an alternative if gluten is of concern – and if you want to avoid soggy toast it should be cut in half diagonally and served in a toast rack.
Jams/Marmalade – oh, and Vegemite! Home-made jam or marmalade would be the epitome of the perfect breakfast table but if you’re busy, as most of us are, then I’m more likely to reach for a really good quality shop bought one. The French brand ‘Bonne Maman’ or my favourite English brand of marmalade, ‘Frank Coopers Vintage Oxford’, can quite easily be passed off as your own!
Along with the usual range of delightful hand-made Mothers’ Day cards and a posy of flowers, there is the added luxury of a newspaper at the breakfast table. In Victorian and Edwardian days, the print was such poor quality that one of the butler’s jobs was to iron the newspaper in the morning so that the eminent family members wouldn’t get their hands dirty! The iron would be set to medium (no steam setting in those days) and with a sheet of tissue paper placed between the iron and the paper, the iron would be moved from top to bottom and from left to right to ‘set’ the print. The newspapers would be placed on an appropriate table awaiting the arrival of the entourage as they descended the sweeping staircase to take their ‘break-fast’!
Well, there you have it. In the hope that this information may have found its way into the hands of the ‘downstairs’ staff for the day (aka The Man of The House and The Children!), then you should be assured service of the perfect breakfast.
Have a great Mothers’ Day – you deserve it, ma’am!