20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History

20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History

Shannon Quinn - December 19, 2018

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is especially true if you want to start your day off right and have the energy be as productive as possible. Since self-help books and advice columns are so popular nowadays, everyone tries to emulate the habits of highly successful people. If that’s the case, what did the most successful people in the world eat in the morning to help fuel their creative genius? It turns out that the only thing successful people have in common is that they listen to their body responds to the best. Their routines and breakfast menus are drastically different from one another, and sometimes, they’re downright dysfunctional. Here are 20 rituals famous people had when they woke up, including their breakfast menu.

20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History
Einstein ate tons of mushrooms every day. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

20. Albert Einstein Ate Mushrooms With Every Meal

Theoretical physicist and mathematician Albert Einstein was famous for being one of the smartest guys in the world. He invented the theory of relativity and made leaps and bounds in the field of physics and quantum mechanics. So, clearly, he did a lot of deep thinking. Every morning, he would eat fried eggs and mushrooms, and he would put tons of honey in his cups of tea. His maid said that he loved mushrooms so much, he would sometimes eat them during all three meals of the day.

There have been studies done by a modern-day-scientist named Paul Stamets that show that certain mushrooms actually do improve concentration and repair neurological pathways in the brain, like the Japanese “Lion’s mane mushroom”. So maybe that’s why Einstein loved mushrooms so much. It is very possible that he felt the positive effects in the way his mind works when he ate them, so he just decided to incorporate them into his daily routine. It was also noted that Einstein possessed a sweet tooth, and he used so much honey on a daily basis, he would have to order huge buckets of it to be delivered to his house.


20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History
Charles Darwin ate plenty of animals that he probably should not have eaten. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

19. Charles Darwin Joined The Glutton Club

Naturalist and Biologist Charles Darwin is remembered for studying biology and studying theories in the Galapagos islands. His studies contributed to the theories of evolution that are still taught in school to this day. One would assume that since he studied animals for a living, he must have respected life and tried to preserve endangered species. The shocking truth is that he was more interested in studying animals instead of keeping them alive, and he was apart of a group called The Glutton Club at Cambridge University.

These hungry and curious men would get together and eat the most exotic animals any of them could get ahold of. Back then, it was not uncommon for upper class English men to go on exotic hunting trips and display rare animals like tigers and lions in their homes. So basically, Charles Darwin got to taste nearly every animal he studied. He ate everything from giant rodents to rare birds. We don’t know if he ate these exotic animals for breakfast, or not, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he cracked open an ostrich egg for his omelette.

20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History
Mozart seemed to have the munchies all the time. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

18. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Ate Meaty Leftovers Every Morning

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was known for making history with his music ever since he was a child, and it’s very possible that he was encouraged to keep working on his music and not worry about much else. He also goes down in history as having very unique taste for his breakfast of choice. He loved to eat meat with his dinner every night, especially sturgeon fish, pork, and a hearty beer-and-beef stew. When he woke up the next morning, he would usually eat leftovers for breakfast.

Mozart once wrote a letter to his wife saying that he stayed over at his friend’s house, and they served a capon for dinner. If you aren’t aware, a capon is a rooster that is castrated and fattened up before it’s eaten. The next morning, Mozart was craving more of the previous night’s capon so much, he stood at the kitchen table and ate the entire half of the rotisserie rooster as soon as he woke up in the morning. Maybe this was because of the lack of refrigeration, and he didn’t want it to go bad… Or maybe he just had the munchies!

20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History
Winston Churchill always ate a huge breakfast. Credit: Medium

17. Winston Churchill Demanded Two Full Breakfast Trays

During World War II, Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He is often credited for his keen leadership skills, and having the military prowess to lead the UK to victory. Sure, it is important for a busy man to have a filling breakfast, but Winston Churchill took his morning ritual almost one step too far. Churchill ate so much food for breakfast, his servants had to bring him two full breakfast trays to his bedroom when he woke up in the morning.

One tray had toast with butter and jam, a cup of coffee with milk, and a poached egg. On that same tray, he requested that he have some sort of meat like chicken or bacon on the side of his egg. On the second tray, he had a grapefruit with an entire bowl of sugar for him to sprinkle on top of the sour fruit. He also had a glass of orange juice, a bowl of squash, and a whisky soda. To make matters worse, he finished off his meal with a cigar. It’s no surprise that he only lived to be 57 years old.

20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History
Beethoven needed to have the perfect cup of coffee every day. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

16. Ludwig van Beethoven Needed Coffee In the Morning Before Anything Else

Everyone remembers Ludwig von Beethoven for his music, and maybe for the fact he was still able to compose even after he went deaf. He did not eat anything at all for breakfast, but he drank a strong cup of black coffee that was made with exactly sixty ground coffee beans. Beethoven also needed to take two hour long walks in the afternoons. If he returned even a few minutes early from his walk, he thought it made his entire day off balance and that “great misfortunes would befall him”.

He ate his first meal in the middle of the day, and we can only assume that it was equally as precise as everything else in his daily routine. He once wrote, “Only a pure heart can make good soup.” ….Whatever that means. For his meals, he would eat 12 boiled eggs, and macaroni and cheese with loads of butter. When someone else was cooking for him, he would eat fish and potatoes. He liked to drink water during the day, and Austrian wine at dinner time.

20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History
Peanuts creator Charles Schultz ate pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

15. Charles Schultz Indulged in a Sugary Breakfast

Charles Schultz was a cartoonist and writer who created the Peanuts series, and his stories about Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang were popular with both children and adults everywhere, even to this day. Schultz had children of his own, and his morning routine was to wake up, shower, shave, and eat pancakes with maple syrup together with his wife and kids for breakfast before they went to school. It seems almost fitting that the guy who drew comics for kids ate a sugary breakfast usually reserved for children, but maybe the taste of buttery pancakes helped him remember what it was like to be a kid.

After his kids left for the day, Charles Schultz would go into his private studio, which was on his property next to the house. He would carry a brown bag lunch of a ham sandwich and milk over to the studio with him for lunch, and only come back to his house at 4:00 in the afternoon. He spent the rest of the evening with his kids and his wife, who would prepare dinner. As an artist, Schultz could work whenever he wanted, but it seems as though he really used his family to keep him grounded to a normal work schedule.

20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History
Victor Hugo took politics very seriously, and his breakfast was quick and easy. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

14. Victor Hugo Needed His Caffeine and Protein Fix

Victor Hugo is best known for being the author of Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and for a period of time, he lived in exile from France on the British island of Guernsey. If you were to see the island today, it looks more like a lovely place to have a relaxing vacation than a prison. Hugo seemed to agree, because he took this so-called “punishment” as an opportunity to relax in his seaside mansion and write some of his best work.

Every morning, Victor Hugo woke up at sunrise to see his spectacular oceanfront views from his window. He slurped down two raw eggs, and chased it with a cup of black coffee before he started writing. This breakfast sounds more like something Rocky would eat before he ran up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, but Hugo was the furthest thing from a boxer. At least it was quick and efficient so he could get his day started.

20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History
Benjamin Franklin was known for his gluttony. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

13. Benjamin Franklin Ate Everything. Constantly.

Ben Franklin was one of the founding fathers of America, an inventor, entrepreneur, and writer. When he was a child, he insisted that he wanted to be a vegetarian, because he did not want to eat meat. However, instead of eating something healthy, he consumed nothing but cookies and raisins. As an adult, Franklin succeeded in a lot of things, but he was a little strange with his lifestyle. He liked to take what he called “air baths”, which was really just letting himself sit around his house completely naked for a while when he first woke up in the morning. He was famous for saying, “An apple a day will keep the doctor away”, but we know that he ate a lot more than that.

He was known for being chubby, and indulging in French cuisine and red wine at dinner time. He even developed gout from eating too many foods that were too rich, with not enough healthy nutrients in his body. He was a big fan of fruit and maple syrup, so it’s not hard to imagine him having a sugary breakfast with his tea or coffee. He may have had greasy eggs and bacon in the morning, since those are known for being a great cure to a hangover.

20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History
Credit: GonzoGallery.com

12. Hunter S. Thompson Was…Something Else.

Hunter S. Thompson was known for being an eccentric writer and major drug addict who is best known for his book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which was later made into a movie starring Johnny Depp. His work inspired several other writers during the Beat Generation, and many people consider his books to be works of a genius, rather than a madman. He had a lot to say about his daily rituals, including how he ate breakfast, so it’s best to let him speak for himself:

“Breakfast is the only meal of the day that I tend to view with the same kind of traditionalized reverence that most people associate with Lunch and Dinner. I like to eat breakfast alone, and almost never before noon; anybody with a terminally jangled lifestyle needs at least one psychic anchor every twenty-four hours, and mine is breakfast. In Hong Kong, Dallas or at home — and regardless of whether or not I have been to bed — breakfast is a personal ritual that can only be properly observed alone, and in a spirit of genuine excess. The food factor should always be massive: four Bloody Marys, two grapefruits, a pot of coffee, Rangoon crepes, a half-pound of either sausage, bacon, or corned beef hash with diced chiles, a Spanish omelette or eggs Benedict, a quart of milk, a chopped lemon for random seasoning, and something like a slice of Key lime pie, two margaritas, and six lines of the best cocaine for dessert… Right, and there should also be two or three newspapers, all mail and messages, a telephone, a notebook for planning the next twenty-four hours and at least one source of good music… All of which should be dealt with outside, in the warmth of a hot sun, and preferably stone naked.”

20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History
Jane Austen ate cake every day for breakfast. Credit: WIkimedia Commons

11. Jane Austen Ate Cake For Breakfast

Even to this day, women still go crazy over Jane Austen’s romance novels like Pride and Prejudice, and she was one of the first writers to begin the trope of a girl stuck in a love triangle between two drastically different guys. This plot point has been used a billion times ever since. Compared to many other famous writers who managed to publish multiple books, Jane Austen took full advantage of making her own schedule. She woke up and ate breakfast rather late in the morning, at 10AM. Considering that she was a full-time writer who probably burned the midnight oil, we really can’t blame her, either, because she still got the job done.

It may or may not surprise her fans that she did not want to have a nutritious breakfast. All she wanted to eat every morning was pound cake and tea. The cake was made with loads of butter and sugar, so it was moist, dense, and very filling to hold her over for several hours until he next meal. Not to sound too corny, but maybe that’s why her romance novels were so sweet!

20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

10. Mahatma Gandhi’s Breakfast Was Simple and Delicious

Mahatma Gandhi was an Indian non-violent activist known for fasting for long periods of time in order to protest British tyranny over his home country. He also protested against racial discrimination in South Africa, tax revolts, and eventually became responsible for leading India to regain their independence. One of his forms of protest was to go on a hunger strike, where he refused to eat food or drink water until his demands were met. So, of course, he would not have been eating at all during that time.

His journals indicate that years before he started starving himself on a regular basis, Mahatma Gandhi’s favorite breakfast to have in London was mixing cocoa in his porridge with goat’s milk. (In India, cows are sacred, so you can’t have that!) Most chocolate lovers will agree that his breakfast of choice sounds pretty good, actually. Even if you don’t have goat milk lying around, his breakfast could be replicated by mixing a hot cocoa pack with some oatmeal and milk.

20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History
Marlon Brando could not be kept away from his food. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

9. Marlon Brando Ate All The Things

Actor Marlon Brando was known for fluctuating in weight throughout his life, because he loved to eat. He started out as a very buff dude, and eventually became the chubby Don we know from The Godfather. For breakfast, Brando ate all sorts of different foods, depending on his mood. He ate cornflakes, an entire box of cinnamon buns, an entire jar of peanut butter, sausage, eggs, pancakes, bananas with cream… Hopefully not all at the same time! Basically, if he ate something, he always went over-the-top with his portion sizes.

Whenever Brando’s girlfriend tried to put him on a diet so that he could look good for a role, they would have to put chains and padlocks on the fridge. That didn’t stop him, because he took a crowbar to pry open the lock, just so he could have one bite of cheese. He would always find a way to get to his food, though, even if it meant breaking something or having his friends throw hamburgers over the security fence on the movie set.


20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History
Monet’s self portrait. Credit: ClaudeMonetGallery.com

8. Claude Monet Made Instagram-Worthy Omelettes

French artist Claude Monet is remembered for painting gorgeous scenes of people living a charmed life in the French countryside and Paris. He was also the founder of the “French Impressionist” style of art. So it’s not very surprising that his breakfast was just as perfect and fancy as his work. He was a major foodie who grew his own produce and herbs, and he would plan out his daily meals in a journal, based on what food he had in season.

Claude Monet’s favorite breakfast was called “Omelette Aux Fines Herbes”- which, if you don’t know, is just egg with some salt, pepper, finely chopped chives, parsley, and whatever other herbs you can get out of your garden. Since he grew his own veggies, Monet probably had a few chickens on his farm to lay his eggs, too. He would sometimes also make some sausage, toast with jam, and a cup of tea to go along with his omelette.

20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

7. Queen Elizabeth I Got Tipsy During Breakfast

Queen Elizabeth I of England lived way back in the 1500’s, and she is considered to be one of the greatest Queens in the history of the United Kingdom. She had a breakfast that seems more like a supper by today’s standards. Nearly every morning, Queen Elizabeth I ate a beef stew with a piece of bread. She also drank a tall glass of ale to go along with the hearty meal, even if it was very early in the morning.

It’s always possible that the stew was made with leftover meat and vegetables from dinner the night before, and since modern refrigeration was not invented back then, it only makes sense that the meat should be eaten before it went bad. Water may not have been the cleanest thing to drink at the time, either, so ale just may have been her best option. But tea still existed back then, and drinking in the morning before her royal duties seems a tad bit irresponsible. But who are we to judge?

20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History
Ernest Hemingway eating breakfast and reading the newspaper with his cat. Credit: Flashbak

6. Ernest Hemingway Ate With His Cats

Author Ernest Hemingway always woke up at 5:30 AM to a hot cup of coffee. In one of this autobiographies, he wrote that when his son was a baby, he would wake up early to feed his cat, Featherpuss, and then give a bottle to his son. Hemingway loved this routine, because his cat and baby kept him company as he wrote in the morning, before his wife woke up. Later in life, when the number of cats in Hemingway’s life increased, he would eat breakfast with his pack of felines.

One of his favorite meals for breakfast was actually pretty fancy; truffle omelette, Canadian bacon, and tea. He absolutely loved to eat food, and would give very detailed descriptions about his character’s meals when he wrote. This happened so often, someone published a Hemingway Cookbook, with the quotes from his novels. Hemingway was known for having a drinking problem, and he would have a breakfast cocktail like a Bloody Mary now and again to take the edge off of a hangover.


20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History
Poet Walt Whitman loved eating meat for breakfast. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

5. Walt Whitman Did The Paleo Diet Before It Was Trendy

Walt Whitman was a writer from New Jersey, reaching world acclaim for his poetry. Whitman had a strange belief that meat was the best thing people could eat, and he thought that it cured a lot of ailments – including acne on people’s skin. He started out every single morning by eating oysters and a rare steak, or any other red meat he could get his hands on. It’s not like people back then were unaware that too much red meat can lead to health problems.

Whitman’s friend and fellow writer, John Burroughs, had this to say about his diet: “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.” Burroughs went on to say that Whitman should probably eat more fruits and grains, but he ignored his friend, and went on with his paleo diet. He lived to be 73 years old, which was an incredibly old age back in the 1800’s, so he couldn’t have been all wrong.

20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History
Thomas Edison loved apple dumplings. Credit: CNN

4. Thomas Edison Ate a Poor Man’s Breakfast

At 22 years old, inventor Thomas Edison was not making any money yet. He was so broke, he wandered into a New York restaurant and offered them a tea bag in his pocket for whatever he could eat. We don’t know why he was carrying around a single tea bag, but the restaurant owner must have taken pity on him, because he gave Edison much more than a tea bag’s worth of food. It was a perfectly hot apple dumpling, and a cup of coffee.

If you have never eaten an apple dumpling, it is an Amish tradition. It is basically a miniature piece of apple pie, except that you have the pie crust wrapping the cinnamon apples in a little ball. Topped with vanilla ice cream, it’s delicious. Thomas Edison never had an apple dumping until then, and he apparently felt so happy and satisfied to have that food, that he decided to start eating apple dumplings and coffee every day for breakfast, even after he became rich and successful.

20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History
Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald looking dapper together. Credit: NPR

3. Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald Loved Their Eggs

As the author of The Great Gatsby, it’s really no surprised that F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda were known for being party animals. There are dozens of stories about their bad behavior, including riding on top of cars, destroying hotel rooms wherever they went, and staying drunk nearly 24/7. Hotel staff would often complain that there were gin bottles all over their hotel room, and they would make a huge mess. It’s very likely that they may have slept through breakfast and gone straight to lunch or dinner after a particularly rough night.

One weekend, while visiting Princeton University, Zelda ordered “omelette flambées” for breakfast, which is made by pouring applejack liquor onto a raw egg in a pan. It bursts into flames, so it’s essentially making an omelette forged by fire. We think that she did this more so she could see the fire than enjoy the food, because just like everything else in her life, she loved chaos. (And that type of omelette doesn’t even taste that good, if we are being honest.) On a normal day, the couple preferred poached eggs and bacon for breakfas, and whatever else they needed to cure a hangover.

20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History
DaVinci was a vegetarian. Credit: LeonardoDaVinci.net

2. Leonardo da Vinci Ate Lots of Fruit

Artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci is remembered for being one of the greatest minds of all time, and an all-around Renaissance Man. We know that he was either a vegetarian or vegan, because he said; “Truly, man is the king of the beasts, for his brutality exceeds them. We live by the death of others. We are burial places! I have since an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men will look upon the murder of animals as they look upon the murder of man.”

So, we don’t know exactly what he ate for breakfast. But considering that there were plenty of options in Italy, it would make sense if he ate lots of fruit, or maybe oatmeal. He could have also eaten eggs, if he did not count that as murder. We are not really sure, since he did not document his food in a journal, but considering how busy he was, it’s easy to imagine him grabbing a piece of fruit on the go, instead of stopping to cook.

20 Breakfasts and Morning Rituals of these Well-known People in History
Steve Jobs got the inspiration for the name of his company because he ate tons of apples. Credit: BaoMoi.com

1. Steve Jobs Ate Apples For Breakfast. (Yes, Really.)

As a teenager, Steve Jobs was a total hippie who did a lot of meditation and deep thinking. Before he started a computer company in his parent’s garage and came up with the official name for Apple Computer, Steve Jobs would go on vegan fasts. He would only eat one or two whole fruits and vegetables at a time. He would only drink water, and abstained from anything like drugs or alcohol during these fasts.

Two of the most common things he ate during this raw food diet were apples or carrots. Sometimes, he would fast completely without eating anything at all. Every once in a while, he threw in some nuts for protein. Even during his time working as a CEO, he was vegan most of his life, and he said that it helped clear his mind and reduce his body odor. If you haven’t guessed already, this is the main reason why his tech company was called “Apple” computer, aside from the fact that it helped him get in high in alphabetical order in the beginning of the phone book.


Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

10 Breakfasts Enjoyed by History’s Most Productive People. Michele Debczak. Mental Floss. 2016.

How The Daily Routines of 26 Successful People Throughout History Compare. Libby Kane. Business Insider. 2016.

Real Brain Food: What Geniuses Actually Eat. Karen Ahn. WonderHowTo. 2014.

Rise and Shine: The Daily Routines of History’s Most Creative Minds. Oliver Burkeman. The Guardian. 2013.

Hunter S. Thompson’s Preferred Breakfast: Eggs, Sausage, Cocaine. Elspeth Reeve. The Atlantic. 2011

Leonardo Da Vinci and Stroke- Vegetarian Diet as a Possible Cause. PubMed.gov. 2010.

Was Leonardo da Vinci a Vegetarian? Shelley Esaak. Thought Co. 2018.

Bacon and Eggs for Every Meal: Absurd Diets of the Rich and Famous. Killian Fox. The Guardian. 2017.

Eating Breakfast Like Zelda Fitzgerald Is A Terrible Idea. Kit Stein Kellner. MyRecipies.com

What Did Charles Darwin Put In His Mouth? Pretty Much Everything. Ester Inglis-Arkell. Gizmodo. 2015.

The Hemingway Cookbook. Craig Boreth. Chicago Review Press. 2012.