Winston Churchill's Favorite Breakfast Might Surprise You

Breakfast, they say, is the most important meal. It's also probably the most often skipped. According to a Morning Mealscape Study of 2011 (via the Huffington Post), 31 million people in the United States don't regularly eat breakfast.

As dietician Sarah Elder put it (via the BBC), sleeping expends "a lot of energy stores for growth and repair through the night ... a balanced breakfast helps to up our energy, as well as protein and calcium used." Naturally, this will depend on lifestyle choices, diets, and other factors, but the key thing is probably keeping that breakfast balanced.

One man who didn't tend to miss the most important meal of the day was Winston Churchill. The prime minister who led Britain through World War II certainly ate a hearty breakfast — and there were some of the surprising favorite items on his morning menu.

Churchill had a well-storied political career, of course, but he was also a  busy author. According to America's National Churchill Museum, he wrote 72 volumes worth over the course of his life, a total of 43 books. In 1953, he even won The Nobel Prize For Literature. How did he find the time and energy for all this? He wasn't a particularly early starter (he tended to rise at around 8 'o clock in the morning, per The Churchill Project), but he had quite the appetite when he arose and his mighty breakfasts surely replaced a lot of energy.

Winston Churchill made very British breakfast choices

The tenacious Brit, The Churchill Project goes on, was very fond of a full English breakfast (how patriotic of him). At his Chartwell estate, he would be served the meal on a tray that was shaped to fit around his sizable stomach, catching up on correspondence and reading the day's newspapers as he ate.

His breakfast would sometimes be garnished with whichever meat he hadn't finished from the previous day's main meal. He reportedly also liked to wash the calorie-heavy breakfast down with a glass of white wine. Those weren't the only quirks of Churchill's breakfast routine, either, which is surprising.

According to Food 52, he insisted on being served orange juice from a bottle rather than freshly squeezed, and while he enjoyed a range of meat (from grouse to sole and chicken) in the morning, he reportedly demanded both hot and cold food, rather than just one or the other. Toast, for instance, required copious chilled condiments. Finally, to complete the picture of Britishness, Food 52 adds that all of this was accompanied by hot, fresh tea, and lots of it.

He never cooked for himself

Did a man of Churchill's stature deign to cook for himself? Apparently not. He is famed for his rather brilliant one-liners, and there's an excellent example that attests to his absolute inexperience in the kitchen.

The Churchill Project reports that he had several homes. One of them, of course, was 10 Downing Street, the traditional home of the prime minister. Chartwell was seemingly his favorite place to spend his time, though, as his wife Clementine knew very well. Anthony Montague Browne, author of "Long Sunset," remembered a discussion the Churchills had around the year 1950 (per The Churchill Project), during the course of which Winston declared that he wanted to spend the coming weekend at his beloved Chartwell. Clementine reportedly said that this was out of the question, as the estate wouldn't be open so the staff would be away. As such, there'd be nobody to prepare a voluminous breakfast for him.

Churchill responded simply, "I shall cook for myself. I can boil an egg. I've seen it done." As it was, apparently, he didn't go that weekend. History does not record whether he ever put his experience of watching others boil eggs into practice personally, but it's probably safe to assume that he didn't.

Cigars were part of Churchill's morning routine too

According to Fiona Ross's "Dining With Leaders, Heroes, Rebels And Outlaws" (per Express), Churchill was just as meticulous about the time he ended his breakfast. At 9 a.m., it seems, the meal was concluded, which is quite a feat considering how much he appears to have been served each morning. Nevertheless, being a busy (and apparently rather fussy) man, this was his routine, says Food 52.

He also found the time, Ross goes on, to indulge in another of his favorite habits: cigar smoking. The image of the statesman with a cigar between his lips may be a bit of a cliché, but he reportedly smoked one each morning just after 9 o'clock. For added convenience, his ashtray was kept in a prominent position by his wastepaper bin. In this way, smoking fitted in perfectly with the rest of his correspondence-reading, orange-juice-drinking, orderly morning. Naturally, he may not have started every day in this manner, but it's a fascinating and unusual glimpse into the domestic side of the man.