What the Greats Ate - Send a Cow charity book launch

What if Einstein hadn’t had his breakfast the day he cracked the theory of relativity?

Thursday, 22nd May 2014, 3:30 pm

Or if Edison had skipped his brekkie the morning he, quite literally, had that light bulb moment?

Would they have made those ground breaking discoveries on empty stomachs?

Breakfast might be the most important meal of the day, but the dishes that fuelled the greats to change the world can arguably be considered as some of the most important meals of all time.

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From today, those very breakfasts are available for everyone to enjoy at home and be inspired by, as the first-ever cookery book containing breakfasts eaten by the likes of Mandela, Einstein, Edison, Parks, Gandhi, Austen, Nightingale, Darwin and even the first men on the moon has been launched.

The free downloadable book, entitled The Most Important Meals Of Their Lives, has been launched by charity Send a Cow as part of its new Break… Fast appeal. In addition to vital donations, which will be doubled by the UK government[1], the appeal aims to raise awareness of the importance of a nutritious breakfast in helping children in the poorest parts of Africa achieve their true potential.

In order to source the breakfasts of some of the greatest men and women in the world, researchers at Send a Cow first spent weeks painstakingly poring over hundreds of historical records, as well as speaking to experts, inspecting museum archives and analysing the personal correspondence and belongings of several famous figures for evidence of what they ate[2].

The result of these efforts is a collection of 18 breakfasts actually eaten by or inspired by humankind’s true pioneers[3], whose achievements in life created a legacy still felt by people today. After sourcing the recipes, they were then expertly recreated by a team of professional chefs and food historians.

Some of the recipes included in The Most Important Meals Of Their Lives eBook:

Albert Einstein: Fried eggs and honey, with crisp rolls (purportedly eaten by Einstein during his time living in Caputh, Germany from 1929 – 1932)

Rosa Parks: ‘Featherlite’ pancakes (when a cache of personal papers belonging to the great civil rights activist were auctioned, among them was an envelope with a recipe for “featherlite pancakes” written on the back)

Mahatma Gandhi: Porridge and cocoa, goat’s milk (Gandhi spent a great deal of time experimenting with food to find the perfect diet. Famously a vegetarian, one-time fruitarian, and drinker of goat’s milk, records show that Gandhi was known to have often eaten a simple breakfast of porridge and cocoa)

Florence Nightingale: Kedgeree (Nightingale took particular interest in the diets of both her patients and herself. She enjoyed food, one of her few pleasures once she had begun to suffer from ill health and spent a lot of time confined to her home. In particular, Florence Nightingale was known to be fond of curry)

Winston Churchill: Poached egg, toast with jam and butter, cold meats, grapefruit, whisky, cigar (during a flight to the USA Churchill famously amended the in-flight breakfast menu to suit his tastes)

Nelson Mandela: Umphokoqo, a porridge made from maize and sour milk (according to his personal chef, Mandela always craved the flavours from his childhood, in particular this traditional African porridge recipe)

Abraham Lincoln: Kentucky corn cakes (Honest Abe was said to be able to “eat corn cakes twice as fast as anyone could make them”)

Charles Darwin: Game or fowl and eggs (in an 1865 letter to his doctor Darwin detailed how he was following this high-protein diet alongside a “daily dose of muriatic acid with cayenne and ginger” in a bid to alleviate his litany of illnesses)

First men on the moon: “Intermediate Moisture” bacon squares, sugar cookie cubes, dehydrated peaches, coffee and rehydratable pineapple-grapefruit drink (this recipe is taken directly from the flight menu of Apollo 11 and would have been the breakfast eaten by Armstrong on the day he took one “giant leap for mankind”)

Thomas Edison: Apple dumplings and milk (the man who brought the light bulb to the world was once quoted as saying that a breakfast of apple dumplings was the “finest repast of his life”)

As well as providing a variety of quirky breakfasts for Britons to enjoy, the book also lifts the lid on the daily lives and routines of some of the world’s most influential people. Charles Darwin, for example, may forever be remembered for the theory of evolution, but he was also an early pioneer of a low-carb approach, and was experimenting with a cayenne pepper diet over a hundred years before Beyonce got there.

The free The Most Important Meals Of Their Lives eBook follows research highlighting how up to one in every three (34%) people in Uganda and almost a third (29%) in Rwanda are gravely undernourished[4] - an estimated 15 million people. Without full stomachs youngsters struggle focus on their school lessons and are prevented from realising their individual potential. Send a Cow’s Break… Fastappeal aims to raise £500,000 to give children in Africa a better start, and every £1 donated will be doubled by the UK government.

Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening, said: “We know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but too many children are not getting that vital head start. Across Uganda and Rwanda, 15 million are gravely undernourished. Given the right chance, any one of those children could be the next Florence Nightingale or Neil Armstrong.

“We will beef up Send a Cow’s appeal by matching pound for pound all public donations to the Break…Fast appeal so we can change thousands of young lives. Just a £2.50 donation, when doubled, is enough to ensure a child can get all the benefits of a nutritious breakfast for an entire month.”

Simon Barnes, CEO of Send a Cow, commented: “Research shows that a full stomach plays a key role in doing well in education. With the opportunity to eat a healthy breakfast every morning, children in some of the poorest parts of Africa will have the vital nutrients they need to go to school and concentrate on their lessons. And if they can prosper in their education they have an excellent chance of breaking free from poverty and achieving their true potential.”

The Most Important Meals Of Their Lives book can be downloaded for free by visiting www.sendacow.org.uk/mostimportantmeal. There is a suggested a donation of £2.50 to the Break… Fast appeal – when doubled this is enough to support an African child for a month. The UK government is matching all donations to the Break… Fast appeal from now until the 30th June 2014.

For more information on the Break… Fast Appeal please visit www.sendacow.org.uk or tweet @Sendacow with the hashtag #BestStart.