I was talking the other day to my mate Sean, and he will admit freely to a degree of OCD. This condition has never been a problem for me, which is just as well since I’m one of the untidiest people I know. However, we strayed onto a topic that made me nod my head sagely in agreement. Strange as it may seem, we got to discussing the correct way to arrange a big boy’s breakfast on a plate. Yes, you heard me. How to present a fry-up.

Some of you may now be losing interest, and if you are then you’re not the people I gave you credit for. This is important. If you’re a ‘sling it on the plate anyhow’ merchant, we may be about to fall out. Sean and I disagreed mildly on some of the fine detail, but were in broad agreement that it has to be done in such a way as to maximise your ability to judge how much of each component you have left in order to produce the perfect last mouthful.

It’s better to use an oval rather than a round plate, for reasons that will now become apparent. The fried bread should be placed centrally with the front and rear edges parallel to the long axis. The fried egg should ideally be centred on the bread, but some adjustment may be necessary to reduce the risk of loss of egg yolk when you do the dippy thing.

Bacon goes in front of the fried bread. Sausages go behind the fried bread. Baked beans must be on the right of the fried bread. Sean likes grilled or fried tomatoes (I don’t) and these must be to the left of the fried bread, where in an ideal world I’d put my bubble’n’squeak. This is also the side where the black pudding should go, to the rear of the tomatoes or b’n’s.

You’ll have spotted by now that this conversation fits neatly into the Amiable Bollocks category of pub chat, but it really is something that we both fret about, though he more than I to be honest. Here’s how I know this.

The very next day I went to my local caff for a cup of tea and to read the paper, and suddenly thought, ‘I really fancy an egg on toast.’ It has to be said that the caff employs cooks who understand eggs, which come with nice firm whites (not hard) and runny yolks.

Imagine my disquiet when I saw that, due to some culinary aberration, the toast had been cut in half! Severe danger of yolk loss through the gap. I nearly sent it back.

When I told Sean about it, he looked stunned and horrified in equal measure. Shook his head. ‘That’s just wrong. It is. It’s just wrong.’ He was even more upset than I had been.

Just for your edification, this is how it should never ever be done. Looks more like a dog’s breakfast. And the cup’s on the wrong side.


By the way, hash browns? Meh. But chips (fries) are an abomination with a fry-up for breakfast, the work of Satan.