The History of Brunch

If you live in a major city, there’s no doubt that you’ve spent your early Sunday afternoon waiting in the lobby of a crowded restaurant or even on the curb outside waiting for your name to be called so you can ease your hangover with some overpriced French toast. In other words, you’ve succumbed to the temptation of brunch.

According to the Smithsonian, there are no solid ideas about where brunch originated. Some believe that it’s a derivative of England’s multi-course breakfasts, while others suspect that its roots come from Catholics fasting before mass and enjoying a large meal in the early afternoon. Wherever the idea of brunch came from, there’s no denying that it’s a huge part of the modern dining experience. While “Sunday brunch” has been commonplace for quite some time, most brunchers are enjoying it on Saturdays too. Typically, this meal is served from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., but some restaurants begin serving as early as 7 a.m., for brunchers who really have their lives together.

The struggles of the chefs
Not all culinary academy grads are excited about the idea of dragging themselves on a Sunday morning back to the restaurant they just closed down on a busy night before. However, the demand for those bottomless mimosas makes it an incentive for these restaurants. According to the Washington Post, the popularity of brunch has continuously increased since 2004. It’s most popular in culinary capitals, like the East and West Coasts and big cities in the Midwest, like Chicago.

A typical brunch dish: poached eggs royale and orange juice.

A typical brunch dish: poached eggs royale and orange juice.

How people feel about brunch
To say that people have complicated feelings on brunch would be an understatement. With so many restaurants that serve brunch only being open a limited few hours of the day, it’s safe to say that when you roll up for brunch, you’re going to be waiting a little while. This exclusivity is both the bane of brunch lovers’ existence and what draws them back in – that and the fact that the meals tend to be a little more artisanal and exciting than the average diner breakfast. Plus it’s socially acceptable to get that hair of the dog and indulge in a bloody mary, Irish coffee or mimosa far before 5 p.m.

What to expect at brunch
There’s more to brunch than just some scrambled eggs and toast. Brunch dishes tend to be a little more thought out and crafted than something you’d get at 3 a.m. at a 24-hour diner. Some favorite dishes of the brunch crowd consist of pastries like croissants and coffee cake, eggs benedict, frittatas and quiches, and French toast. However, some areas have regional favorites as well. For example, New Yorkers love bagels topped with lox, cream cheese, capers, tomato and onion, while Southwestern brunch establishments will serve huevos rancheros and chilaquiles. Biscuits with sausage gravy is a staple in the South, and many West Coast brunchers enjoy fruit-based dishes.

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