10 Breakfasts Enjoyed by History’s Most Productive People

If you start your morning with a hearty breakfast, you’re in good company. Many of the greatest politicians, artists, and scientists from history were fueled by the most important meal of the day. And as you can see from the list below, their tastes were far from boring.

1. Victor Hugo // Raw Eggs and Cold Coffee

Victor Hugo
Henry Guttmann Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

During his years living in exile on the island of Guernsey, Victor Hugo found inspiration for some of his most influential novels, including Les Misérables. The French author adopted a consistent writing routine while residing on the island. After waking up at sunrise, Hugo would slurp down a breakfast of two raw eggs and a cold cup of coffee before getting to work.

2. Mahatma Gandhi // Porridge, Cocoa, and Goat's Milk

Mahatma Gandhi
Fox Photos/Getty Images

While Gandhi is most famous for fasting for long amounts of time, when he was living in London—several years before he began fasting—the civil rights leader started his day with a well-balanced meal. According to his journals he enjoyed a simple breakfast of porridge, goat's milk, and cocoa.

3. Albert Einstein // Fried Eggs, Honey, and Mushrooms

Albert Einstein
Keystone/Getty Images

One of the most brilliant minds in history was fueled by a steady diet of eggs. In the book Einstein at Home, the physicist’s live-in housekeeper Herta Waldow recalled that "Herr Professor always ate fried eggs, at least two," almost every morning. At breakfast Einstein also enjoyed mushrooms ("He would probably have eaten mushrooms three times a day," according to Waldow) and honey. The latter was delivered to him by the pailful.

4. Walt Whitman // Oysters and Red Meat

Walt Whitman
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Walt Whitman was notorious for indulging in a meat-heavy diet throughout his lifetime. Even first thing in the morning, the American poet was known to enjoy a protein-rich meal of oysters and red meat. This was prior to the Paleo diet, when Whitman's belief that rare beef was a health food capable of curing pimples was far from mainstream. His dietary habits were a point of concern for his writer friend John Burroughs, and in 1885 he wrote Whitman, saying:

“I am almost certain you eat too heartily and make too much blood and fat. […] If not the engine makes too much steam, things become clogged and congested and the whole economy of the system deranged.”

Burroughs recommended he limit his meat intake to a little bit once a day and replace his fatty breakfast with cereals and fruit. According to the biography Walt Whitman: Song of Himself, the writer largely shrugged off his friend's advice.

5. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart // Half a Capon

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Barbara Kraft, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart also had no trouble packing protein into his diet. Some of his favorite foods to eat included sturgeon, pork cutlets, and a Flemish beer-and-beef stew. The composer's carnivorous tendencies carried over into breakfast: In one letter to his wife, he wrote about having "just enjoying thoroughly my half of a capon which friend Primus has brought back with him" after waking up from a restful night’s sleep. Capons are hard to come by nowadays, but the large, neutered roosters were once considered a luxurious delicacy.

6. Winston Churchill // Eggs, Meat, Grapefruit, and Toast

Winston Churchill
Fox Photos/Getty Images

British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill understood the importance of a filling breakfast. He requested his morning meal to be served to him on two trays: one with toast, jam, butter, coffee, milk, a poached egg, and cold chicken (or other meats), and another with grapefruit, a sugar bowl, a glass of orange squash, and a whiskey soda. He punctuated the feast with a morning cigar.

7. Jane Austen // Pound Cake and Tea

Jane Austen
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Jane Austen began breakfast at a relatively later time than many of her creative counterparts, waiting until around 10 a.m. to eat. The writer’s breakfast of choice was a moist, dense pound cake served with tea.

8. Claude Monet // Omelette aux Fines Herbes

Claude Monet
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Claude Monet’s appreciation for the finer things was evident in his diet. The painter grew his own produce, planned menus with the seasons, and kept food journals documenting his culinary habits. Before diving into his daily painting, Monet would sit down for an early breakfast of sausage, toast, jam, an herb omelet, and tea.

9. Queen Elizabeth I // Pottage, Ale, and Bread

Queen Elizabeth I
National Portrait Gallery, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain in the United States

Queen Elizabeth I started her days with a meal worthy of her royal title. For breakfast, the monarch ate fine bread, ale, and a pottage (or stew) made from meat like beef or mutton cooked with grains. The dish was usually flavored with succory, an herb that tastes like dandelions.

10. Thomas Edison // Apple Dumplings

Thomas Edison
Central Press/Getty Images

Thomas Edison discovered his favorite breakfast food shortly after moving to New York. Broke and hungry, the 22-year-old wandered into a restaurant downtown looking to exchange a packet of tea for a hot apple dumpling and a cup of coffee. The humble meal was so satisfying to him at the time that it became his lifelong favorite dish.

10 Frank Facts About the Wienermobile

Business Wire
Business Wire

This year marks the 83rd anniversary of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, that effortlessly charming, street-legal marketing tool on wheels. The next time you’re in the vicinity of one—a fleet of six makes up to 1400 stops annually—take the time to reflect on the past, present, and future of history’s most famous locomoting hot dog.

1. The Wienermobile started as a kind of land sub. 


Oscar Mayer

In 1936, Carl Mayer, nephew of hot dog scion Oscar Mayer, suggested a marketing idea to his uncle: build a 13-foot-long mobile hot dog and cruise around the Chicago area handing out his “German wieners” to stunned pedestrians. Crafted from a metal chassis, the vehicle was operated by Carl, who could usually be seen with his torso sticking out from the cockpit.

2. The Wienermobile was once driven by "Little Oscar."

Throughout the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s, Oscar Mayer enlisted various little people to portray “Little Oscar,” a company mascot sporting a chef’s hat. Little Oscar soon assumed piloting duties for the Wienermobile, waving to crowds and dispensing wiener whistles that kids could use to alert other children to the presence of the car in their neighborhood. Performer George Malchan portrayed the character from 1951 to 1987.

3. The Wienermobile disappeared for decades.

While novelty automobiles were all the rage circa World War II, Oscar Mayer saw interest wane in the 1960s and 1970s, as kitsch gave way to more contemporary advertising campaigns. But when the company put a Wiener back on the road for its 50th anniversary in 1986, they discovered a whole generation of consumers who were nostalgic for the car. The company ordered six new models in 1988.

4. Wienermobile drivers train at Hot Dog High.

Since resurrecting the marketing campaign, Oscar Mayer has trained aspiring Wienermobile drivers at Hot Dog High in Madison, Wisconsin. The company receives 1000 to 1500 applications for the 12 available positions annually, typically from college graduates looking for a road trip experience. Those selected for duty are given 40 hours of instruction and assigned a different region of the country. The company tracks their routes with a GPS.

5. Wienermobile passengers ride "shotbun."

Oscar Mayer Wienermobile
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Wienermobile motorists—a.k.a. Hotdoggers—typically ride in pairs, with the driver keeping an eye on the road and the passenger acknowledging and waving to passersby who want to interact with the vehicle. This is known as riding “shotbun,” and the greetings are mandatory. Some occupants have reported that even after going off-duty, they’ll keep waving to other drivers out of habit.

6. The Wienermobile interior is just as delicious.

Wienermobile fans who are invited to board—and promise to fasten their “meat belts” before rolling—are treated to a rare peek inside the vehicle’s interior. Ketchup- and mustard-colored upholstery surround the six seats, with condiment "stains" dotting the floor; for parades, occupants can wave from the “bunroof.” Two accent hot dogs are parked on the dashboard.

7. The Wienermobile once crashed into a house.

Though it can be challenging to pilot an enormous hot dog, most Wienermobiles log mileage without incident. A rare exception: a 2009 accident near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, when a driver attempted to back the vehicle out of a residential driveway, thought she was in reverse, but shot forward and bored into an unoccupied home.

8. Al Unser Jr. drove the Wienermobile for laps at the Indy 500.

While one might expect the Wienermobile to have the handling of a tube-shaped camper, some models were surprisingly nimble. Race car driver Al Unser Jr. took to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1988 and drove it for laps. The dog reached an impressive 110 miles per hour.

9. There's a version of the Wienermobile called a "Wienie-Bago."

Oscar Mayer Wienermobile WIENIE-BAGO
Oscar Mayer

Super Bowl attendees who couldn’t snag a hotel room in San Francisco for the 2016 showdown between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos had a pork-based solution: Oscar Mayer auctioned off two nights in their Wienie-Bago, an RV that sleeps four. Missed it? If you're in Chicago, you can rent a Wienermobile that sleeps two for $136 a night. A bed, outdoor dining area, and a fridge stocked with hot dogs are all included.

10. You can buy a miniature Wienermobile.

For the 2015 gift-giving season, Oscar Mayer issued a limited-edition, remote-controlled version of the Wienermobile. The 22.5-inch-long mini-dog sent collectors scrambling on Cyber Monday, when the company released just 20 for purchase at a time. The Rover is able to hold two hot dogs for transport across picnic tables. You can still find them on eBay.

Autumnal Dessert Spices and Cubed Meat Collide: Pumpkin Spice SPAM Now Exists

David McNew/Getty Images
David McNew/Getty Images

Does sipping on a pumpkin spice latte ever make you think: “Man, I wish this were cubed meat”? Soon, it will be. According to NBC News, Hormel will start selling Pumpkin Spice SPAM on September 23.

It all started back in October of 2017, when Hormel announced via its Facebook page that pumpkin spice SPAM was coming—as a joke. The post clearly stated that it wasn’t real, but that didn’t stop scores of people from making comments about how it would probably taste delicious and asking where they could purchase a can.

Now, a Hormel publicist has confirmed to NBC News that the limited-edition, fall-themed flavor will soon be available to order online from Walmart or Spam.com.

"True to the brand’s roots, SPAM Pumpkin Spice combines deliciousness with creativity, allowing the latest variety to be incorporated into a number of dishes, from on-trend brunch recipes to an easy, pick-me-up snack,” Hormel told NBC News.

While Pumpkin Spice SPAM might not yet be accepted into pumpkin spice canon alongside lattes and muffins, it’s far from the strangest product that has been imbued with the mysterious, cinnamon-y spice blend to date; we’ll leave automotive exhaust spray and light bulbs to duke it out for that designation. And the Facebook commenters might have actually been onto something when they dared to suggest that Pumpkin Spice SPAM had palatal potential. After all, ham recipes often include sweet ingredients like maple syrup, brown sugar, and honey. And, according to TIME, the word spam was invented as a portmanteau of spiced ham.

Wondering what other SPAM innovations you might be missing out on? Check out these recipes from around the world.

[h/t NBC News]

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