My housemates and I have decided to start up a less-than-innovative tradition within our group of friends: Brunch. Sunday Brunch, to be more exact. Sunday Brunch Potluck style to be precise. We figure that food is the best reason to come together, our house the best location, and Sunday the best time to prepare for the upcoming week.
As I said, this tradition is nothing new. In fact, we are rapidly approaching the 115th anniversary of the first publicized use of “Brunch.” Back in 1895, an Englishman, Guy Beringer, pleaded to the general readership of Hunter’s Weekly to delay breakfast and combine it with the mid-day meal. Unbeknownst to us, there were reasons other than as an excuse for gathering during the first push to popularize this meal. Beringer’s main arguing point for creating a conjoined meal rested largely on the goings on the night before; he wanted to drink more, until later, and not feel bad about it. In fact, Beringer also became revolutionary by suggesting that alcoholic drinks be taken with Brunch, which spawned (not until later) the birth of the Bloody Mary and mimosa.
“Brunch: A Plea” caught on throughout universities, allowing students to enjoy their Saturdays just that much more. The more general British public began to participate due not to increasing alcohol consumption, but because of the virtues that Beringer suggested came of Brunch, including compelling conversation, good temperament, a cheerful disposition, and an enticing and social environment. Who would have thought a combination of two meals into one would result in virtuosity, let alone psychological treatment. Beringer also insisted that Brunch was a source of satisfaction: “Brunch makes you satisfied with yourself.”
The dynamic duo of a meal stayed mostly in Britain, however, until the 1930s, When American Movie stars started to indulge in Brunch out of necessity. Movie stars would travel transcontinentally before or after a movie shoot and generally had a layover in Chicago around 11am through 1pm. During this time, they began to take a larger, combined meal. Some thought the etymological roots of brunch (clearly an elementary conjunction) were childish, but the tradition itself took off amongst the wealthy. Those with money were able to splurge in a feast, let alone a mid day meal of breakfast foods. Today, you can find a restaurant that serves brunch in about any city in America. Much of the diaspora and degentrification of Bruch bases largely on a decline in church goers, allowing for more time at home on Sundays and thus more feasts.
Menus have changed drastically throughout the years. Britain, France, and America all have their own claim to fame with brunches. A typical American brunch menu of 1924 might look like this: grapefruit, broiled ham, potatoes au gratin, buttered toast, waffles, syrup, jam, coffee and tea. Here at my house, in 2009, we enjoy anything that you would call breakfast or lunch. We have eggs Benedict, waffles, ham, bacon, tomatoes, grits, salsa and cheddar cheese. Next time there might be hamburgers, eggs, beets, crepes and a slice of chocolate cake. Or two. We’ll see. Either way we’ll converse well, have good temperament, better ourselves and be fashionable, since “to be fashionable nowadays, we must Brunch.”
More tips on fashion through meals: