brunch: a history.

Photo credit: Gorka Linaza
Photo credit: Gorka Linaza

This weekend, one of my closest old friends was in town visiting. We grew up together: attended the same teeny catholic school, carpooled and played together, had weird adventures. She once picked me up from my house on horseback. We tried to shower in our swimsuits in a crazy downpour once, only to have the rain stop JUST as we were going to rinse our hair (we then tried to rinse it in the puddles). I joined her exclusive group, the Pug Club (created in honor of her beloved dog Gertie). Last summer we spontaneously decided to jump in the lake in our undies at 2:00 AM after bar close. And on and on. She’s one of the most authentic and adventurous people I know, and I am grateful for friends who bring out the best in us.

So of course we went out for brunch on Saturday! If you’re ever in Madison, Wisconsin, you MUST go here. Best brunch I’ve eaten for a price I can afford, and they have fantastic Bloody Marys. Try the Savory French Toast, the buttery Shrimp and Grits, and the Boozy Smoothie for something different! So good.

my awesome Bloody Mary - nom.
so yummy.

This got me wondering how brunch became such a thing. I think it’s picked up popularity again in recent years as well, or maybe I just got older and noticed that brunch is what people do now. Either way, I’m a big fan of a giant meal that you can eat after a lazy morning sleeping in, and where it is acceptable to have an adult beverage and leisurely conversation.

Apparently, the word “brunch” first showed up in an 1895 article called “Brunch: A Plea”, by Guy Beringer, which was printed in a publication called Hunter’s Weekly in England. The man liked his drink and wasn’t a huge fan of waking up Sunday morning to a hefty, heavy meal that clashed with his hungover self. He proposed a meal that started with lighter foods and could then continue into more a more lunchy affair. The piece included this lovely brunch quote, “Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting. It is talk-compelling. It makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings.” Love that!

Brunch became popular in America, however, when the wealthy and famous would stop over in Chicago while traveling by train from one coast to the other. Here they would have a leisurely late breakfast, a concept that became popular and was eventually picked up by restaurants around the country. It gained momentum as families were less likely to attend church, but were still looking for an event on Sundays that fostered community while allowing some sleeping in.

In my very scientific, highly researched opinion, brunch is simply a meal that brings together great friends, tales of weekend adventures, delicious morning foods and cocktails, and an air of festivity and lightness. I am a huge fan, my friends!

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