Brunch is a meal all its own and like many things, was invented out of a need – in this case, a hangover. A combination of breakfast and lunch, brunch is now used as an occasion to catch up with friends, discuss business and yes, ease the pain of a pounding head.
Writer Guy Beringer wrote an article in 1895 in Hunter’s Weekly entitled “Brunch: A Plea,” to describe a Sunday meal for “Saturday-night carousers.”
He proposed that instead of England’s early Sunday dinner tradition, a post-church meal of heavy meats and savoury pies, that one enjoyed a new meal, served around noon, starting with tea or coffee, marmalade and other breakfast fixtures before moving along to the heavier fare? He reasoned that by eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday-night carousers.
It would promote human happiness in other ways as well. “Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting.” Beringer wrote. “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.”
He also felt that if someone needed to chase the meal with a hair-of-the-dog cocktail, nobody would judge. Best of all, Beringer believed that friends could share their debauched tales of the previous evening over brunch.
Brunch was a meal championed by hotels at the time, as most restaurants were closed on Sundays and, when church attendance began to flag, people were looking for a new social outlet that also let them sleep in a bit. Restaurants soon hopped on the bandwagon and began offering the decadent spreads of food and signature morning cocktails, such as Bloody Marys, Bellinis and Mimosas.
It really was a fabulous idea of Mr Beringer’s. Where would a weekend morning be without great coffee, the odd tipple, french toast, bagels, eggs benedict and the like?