Monday, 14 April 2014

History Mondays - You say brunch and I say where?

One of my favourite treats is brunch: the decision where to go however is less so. After many texts and facebook notes, my friends and I settled on one place at 10. Then we waited an hour for a table, starving. But it was worth it. My salmon eggs Benedict with duck fat taters was delicious and made my earlier annoyance of being sequestered in their 'waiting room' almost worth while. I love brunch so I put up with it. 

Sigh - the love...

I've only started making my journey to eggy happiness mid morning in the last fifteen years. Before this, my city had limited brunch locations. We just went for a late breakfast/early lunch and enjoyed the luxury of having bacon, eggs and toast. To my surprise, the tradition of brunch is much older, and is shrouded in mysterious but delicious origins.

There are a few theories about the origins of brunch. Some believe it was due to Catholics, who fasted before receiving the Eucharist at mass would come home to their mix of breakfast/lunch. In the 1800s, English elite like to dine on meats, eggs, fresh fruit and sweets on Sunday mornings, either after a hunt or because they woke late. There was also a meal called Second Breakfasts, where in Europe it still goes on at about 10 am and is usually taken at work or school. However, this was a daily activity at work and not with friends and family as modern brunch is. 

The element of partying then getting up late might have had something to do with it. In Jane Austen's Persuasion, the characters often have their breakfast very late after a night at a ball.

"Look buddy, eventually she's going to have brunch with me, not you"
The actual term brunch first appears in 1890s. The online Etymology Dictionary cites 1895 in Hunter's Weekly article by British writer Guy Beringer as the first time this portmateau word was used.  In "Brunch: A Plea", he states that:

"Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting. It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week."

It is further reference in 1896 in the magazine Punch, as a slang term used by students for a late morning meal. The movement of yummy-ness crossed the big pond to North America by the 1920s. In the book American Food, author Evan Jones cites the famous Pump Room in Chicago serving brunch in 1933. Jones believed that it was due to many movie stars stopping off in Chicago on their way to either coast. In the 1940s, the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City was known to offer a Sunday Stroller's Brunch of sauerkraut juice, clam cocktails, calf liver and hash browns, fish balls, and bacon.

I don't know if I want this first thing in the morning - looking at me.
The practice continued to grow in Europe and North America, becoming a bigger event. A huge surge in specific brunch places has surged in recent years as a When Mother's Day was created, the restaurants tried to jump into the food dish:

What could be more fun than...morning brunch for the whole family on Mother's Day? Brunch is a sort of glamourous, leisurely, combination of breakfast and lunch that is more hearty than an ordinary breakfast. In fact, it often includes a dessert too. Start the menu with grapefruit shells filed with icy cold grapefruit sections and with fresh or frozen strawberries. A fluffy omelette with a tomato and ripe olive filling is quite delicious with crisp bacon curls and broiled canned cling peaches..."
---"Menus and Recipes," Philadelphia Tribune, May 8, 1948 (p. 8)t

But where's the booze for mom? 

No comments:

Post a Comment