Coming to a mouth near you…

Salt Beef is at the heart of what we offer at Mercer & Co. Whether you’re a traditionalist who likes theirs in a bagel with a gherkin and a bit of mustard or modernist who wants it in a cheese toast with mounds of sauerkraut – we’ve got an option for you.

Now, if you’re no expert to salt beef – you’ll be forgiven for thinking that all Salt Beef is equal but did you know that most eateries offering Salt Beef on their menu, simply buy it in and heat it up?

You won’t find that here at Mercer & Co. Everything we do is “home-grown” and we’ve been perfecting our Salt Beef recipe for months so you can be sure you’re getting a truly unique Salt Beef experience.  Want to know more? We’ll let the food do the talking. Pop in today and try our amazing salt beef, but be sure to get there early before it’s all sold out!

14 Fascinating Breakfast Facts

Here at Mercer, we believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day and as a nation, our passion for breakfast has seen the creation of one of the world’s most famous breakfast dishes. The full English. But have we always had such passion for a morning meal and where did the whole ‘breakfast thing’ come from anyway? We’re not sure we can answer all of your questions about breakfast but here’s a bunch of fun breakfast facts for you to digest over your morning cornflakes

  • John Harvey Kellogg invented cornflakes in 1906 as therapy and a means of curbing the sex drive of mental patients in his sanatorium. How did that go John…?
  • The most popular breakfast in the UK is the full English, followed by the bacon sarnie.
  • The average person in the UK sits down to breakfast at 7.31am during the week and 8.28am at the weekend (We don’t like this fact. No one is average in our minds)
  • Around 25% of people skip breakfast altogether
  • The word breakfast literally refers to breaking the fasting period of the prior night
  • The world record time for eating a dry Weetabix is 57.72 seconds
  • The earliest known breakfast food was a sort of porridge made in the late Stone Age by grinding grains with a large stone.
  • British Bacon is part of our national heritage; there are records of the Romans salting sides of bacon as early as 200BC and Julius Caesar brought his own bacon with him when he landed in ancient Britain in 55BC.
  • Like your coffee? The biggest ever cappuccino produce was over 2,000 litres and required the cumulative effort of over 1,000 trained baristas and 22 coffee machines
  • The earliest known use of the word breakfast in English was in 1463. The concept of eating a different type of food for breakfast didn’t get to the US until the 1800’s. Before that, they just ate the leftovers from the meal the night before.
  • The world’s first breakfast cereal was created in 1863 and needed soaking overnight to be chewable.
  • You can buy bacon flavoured underwear
  • The great Italian lover Casanova recommended eating 50 oysters for breakfast.
  • Scientists have uncovered a statistical relationship between a person’s character, lifestyle and social class and whether they like their eggs boiled, fried, scrambled or as an omelette.
    – Poached egg eaters tend to be outgoing, listen to upbeat music and have happy dispositions
    – Boiled egg eaters are disorganised
    – Fried egg fans have a high sex drive
    – Scrambled egg lovers are more guarded
    – Omelette eaters are self-disciplined

Which one are you?

Would you Mac n’ Cheese it?

Here’s a crazy fact for you. The origins of Macaroni Cheese date back over 750 years. Yes, when here in Britain people were living in wooden huts, having sword fights and setting up parliament, out in sun-drenched Italy, life was a little bit more relaxed.

The first mention of the cheesy, saucy, pasta casserole dish we know and love today was in a cookery book – Liber de coquina, written in Latin by someone familiar with the Neapolitan court then under the sphere of Charles II of Anjou (1248-1309). It’s one of the oldest medieval cookbooks and features a dish of parmesan and pasta.

Us brits weren’t far behind though and later in the 14th century, a cheese and pasta casserole known as makerouns was recorded in the famous medieval English cookbook, the Forme of Cury. It was made with fresh, hand-cut pasta which was sandwiched between a mixture of melted butter and cheese. The recipe given (in Middle English) was “Take and make a thynne foyle of dowh. and kerve it on peces, and cast hem on boillyng water & seeþ it wele. take chese and grate it and butter cast bynethen and above as losyns. and serue forth.” (“Make a thin foil of dough and cut it in pieces. Put them in boiling in water and seethe them well. Grate cheese and add it with butter beneath and above as with losyns [a dish similar to lasagne], and serve.”)

The first modern recipe for the dish was included in cookery writer Elizabeth Raffald’s 1770 book, The Experienced English Housekeeper. Raffald’s recipe is for a Béchamel sauce with cheddar cheese—a Mornay sauce in French cooking—which is mixed with macaroni, sprinkled with Parmesan, and baked until bubbly and golden. The famous British Victorian cookbook Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management included two recipes for the dish. One recipe states that “The macaroni, (which should be “tender but perfectly firm, no part being allowed to melt, and the form entirely preserved” – lest one be tempted to cook it for so long it actually disintegrated) is then topped with more cheese, pepper and breadcrumbs, before receiving a final dose of melted butter for good measure and being placed before a “bright fire” to brown the crumbs, or grilled with a salamander broiler.

Today there are hundreds of variations of the dish and of course we have our own fantastic version here at Mercer and Co. so why not pop in today and give it a try. You’ll appreciate it so much more now you know it’s been 750 years in the making.

Everything you need to know about Bagels

We’ve all come to associate Bagels with New York, but believe it or not, the bagel had been around for well over 200 years before it arrived in New York in the late 1800’s. The tasty ‘roll with a hole’ was known as a beygal in its early years – a Yiddish word pulled from the German word beugel, meaning “ring” or “bracelet.  It was a popular staple in the Jewish Communities of Poland way back in the early 1600s and was commonly given as a gift to woman after childbirth.

Bagels came to the UK in the mid 1800s and were originally sold in Brick Lane where you’ll still find them today. They were often displayed in the windows of bakeries on vertical wooden dowels, up to a metre in length, on racks.

Today, brits scoff their way through over 380 million bagels every year (that’s nearly 6 bagels for every person in the UK) and the UK bagel market is worth over £65 million.

If you truly love your bagels –  you’ll be pleased to know there’s a day dedicated to celebrating this mighty fine bread… February 9th is National Bagel Day so make sure you’re stocked up to the rafters with cream cheese in anticipation.

One last bagel fact for you – the biggest bagel ever made was a whopping 394 kilos. That’s roughly the weight of 5 grown adults. The bagel was 6 feet in diameter and 20 inches thick.