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The History of Brunch

WHAT IS BRUNCH?

Article by de Laurence Burnes

Photography by de Laurence Burnes

As we all know, I love going to brunch on the weekends. Heck, I can actually even go to brunch on weekdays as well! I’m fine as long as I have some type of flavored mimosa or a bellini. I also know that many others love going to brunch, but have you ever thought of the origins of brunch? Well, let me tell you all about it.

Brunch is a playful mix on the words “breakfast” and “lunch.” It is a combination of the two, and regularly has some form of alcoholic drink served with it. The origins of brunch are a bit murky, but I'll give you a few history lessons and you choose the one you like.

British author Guy Beringer seems to have coined the term "brunch." He wrote the book "Brunch: A Plea" in which he suggested that a lighter meal be served after church, instead of the heavy, post-church Sunday meals. He calls this lighter meal "brunch" and describes it as a time to socialize with your friends and family. It was supposed to help you forget about the worries of the week and put you in a good mood.

On the contrary, food historians think that the meal came about thanks to either of the South's favorite pastimes—hunting or church-going. Some historians think brunch started thanks to the pre-hunt breakfasts that were common in England. Those were traditionally lavish meals with both sweet and savory options for every palate. Modern brunch staples like eggs, bacon, fresh fruit and sweets were all common at these gatherings. Other food historians think that Sunday brunch started thanks to Catholics who would fast before mass and then eat a large lunch after church. Another group of historians thinks brunch really got going in the Big Apple. From the early days, dining spots across New York served up now-classic brunch dishes like eggs Benedict and bagels and lox turning breakfast lovers into brunch fanatics.

The brunch tradition became popular in the United States in the 1930s because Hollywood stars made transcontinental train trips and they would stop in Chicago to have a late morning meal. Hotels caught on to this idea, since most restaurants were closed on Sundays. And after World War II, not as many people went to church, and they were looking for an activity that allowed them to sleep in later. Restaurants eventually joined the brunch bandwagon and began offering delicious and creative spreads of foods and signature morning cocktails such as mimosas, bellinis, & bloody marys.

Today, brunch remains a social outlet that has turned into a culture. It is an emerging scene that continues to grow across the country. Brunch allows you to showcase your unique style, eat yummy food, drink delicious morning cocktails all day, dine with friends and family, laugh, and forget about all of the worries of the week. In Dallas, Texas, brunch ranges from 10am-5pm on Saturdays and Sundays, but I feel like the most common time for brunch is 10am-3pm, however, this can vary by the city that you live in. 

I encourage you to be free; do brunch any day of the week! But just know that most restaurants only offer it on Saturdays and Sundays. Now figure out, where will your next brunch be?

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