Steak and Eggs Started as an Australian Breakfast Staple

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Beef emerged in Australia alongside the arrival of the first European settlers. The small cattle stock carried by the penal colony in 1788 blossomed over the course of the next century, with the population reaching 8.6 million cattle by 1900. Parts of the country proved to be an excellent site for grazing, establishing a prominent beef industry that explains why Australia has some of the best steak in the world.

With such abundance it’s no surprise that colonists started integrating the meat into their everyday meals. It didn’t take long for meaty fare to enter breakfast routines, and steak and eggs emerged as an Australian breakfast by the 1880s. Its prominence kept growing, and it started to commonly appear on restaurant menus during the early 20th century. By the 1920s, it was established as a national dish, even going on to inspire poetry.

Such prominence continued until World War II, when the dish lost popularity as rationing slashed the availability of both central ingredients. Australians switched to eating lamb, and steak and eggs never regained the same footing. However, it did inspire American interpretations, leaving behind a tasty legacy.

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