Justin Dodd of the Mental Floss series Food History explains the history of the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich (BEC) and how it became the quintessential American breakfast, particularly in heavily populated urban areas.
People have been eating bacon, eggs, and cheese, individually or in some combination, for centuries, but the famous breakfast sandwich that’s ubiquitous in New York City and other parts of the American northeast is a surprisingly recent phenomenon.
Included in this discussion is the type of bread upon which the BEC is served.
When New Yorkers complain about not being able to find their favorite breakfast item in other states, I think they’re really saying they can’t find the same kind of roll. Called a hard roll or kaiser roll… It provides a perfect textural backdrop for a bacon egg and cheese…. It adds an extra level of crunch and will survive if you eat it on the street, as Mother Nature intended.
While certainly not Kosher or Halal, the BEC is the perfect combination of fat, protein, and bread to keep people going throughout a busy day.
In a busy metropolis with a debatable mass-addiction to work…food is about the most efficient method of getting nutrients into your body. And sometimes, when the right dish comes along, it’s about both.