The waitress in the hotel breakfast room very politely offered me two options; a ‘full breakfast’ or a ‘continental breakfast’. Not feeling particularly hungry I opted for the continental. However, to my surprise, it included scrambled eggs, bacon, toast and whole range of meats, cheeses, breads and pastries. In fact, apart from a couple of small items, there didn’t seem to be any difference between the ‘continental’ and the ‘full’ breakfast. I got to wondering what does the word ‘continental’ actually mean in this context?
When I was a young man travelling between hotels across the UK, a ‘continental’ breakfast meant very little, i.e. a couple of slices of bread, some ham, a pot of jam and some coffee, oh and a croissant, if one was really lucky. Continental meant minimalist chic.
Today hotel breakfast tables (no matter where they are) are becoming one of the same, so I wonder for which country or countries does the word ‘continental’ apply? (And therefore to which countries does it not apply)?
In our offices, especially in mainland Europe, we see a kind of hotel breakfast table blending of cultures too. For example, many of my clients, if not all, have employees from all around the world working within any one location. They are no longer predominantly single culture organisations. It is clear that ‘on the continent’ our single culture barriers are beginning to come down and I find it a very welcome change indeed. The more diversity in the workplace the better. We just need to make sure that our politicians do not loose site of this fact. After all, I can imagine that they do not live this kind of multi-culturalism within their own organisations?
But still, breakfast time for me is one time of the day when it is nice to feel safely within my comfort zone: cereal, toast, a little marmalade and perhaps (if I am very hungry) some fried eggs and bacon. However, it feels strangely good to know that what was once considered a ‘British’ breakfast is now ‘continental’. Just a shame that too many Brits do not themselves feel the same. J
Have a good week,