Sunday, August 7, 2011

Thou Shalt Brunch

Sometimes in life, you have to wait for good things. This is true of this blog and brunch -- brunch only happens once a week (see explanation below), and it took me 6 months after writing the inaugural post to launch this site for real. But now I'm ready and brunch-focused.

Let's talk basic brunch commandments, shall we? I haven't come up with ten yet, so we'll start with five. Five rules that are absolutely essential to understanding brunch and its cultural significance.

1. Brunch only happens on Sunday. No exceptions.

Look, I know what you're going to say -- some restaurants serve a meal they call brunch on Saturdays, too. There's a place in Allston, where I live, that allegedly offers "brunch" every day from 11-4. But real brunch, the brunch I'm concerned with? It's only on Sundays. Period. Just because you're eating a meal during the brunch time-frame does not make it brunch. It's a late breakfast or it's lunch. I can make myself eggs at 1:30 in the afternoon on a Tuesday and that's not brunch. Brunch is a Sunday ritual, end of story. With no evidence whatsoever to back up the claim I'm about to make, I'd like to suggest that brunch began as a reward for sitting through church. At least, that's how it was in my family. Get through Sunday School without throwing crayons at any of the staff and there's a slab of syrup-drenched french toast with your name on it, kiddo.

2. There must be home fries.

Brunch cannot exist without breakfast potatoes, usually called home fries, or as we call them in the industry, "homies." If home fries are not on the menu, it's not brunch. Truth be told, I'm more of a hash browns girl. I like my potatoes crispy, even at brunch. But I will make the exception, since home fries are currently in vogue. Substituting a salad for your home fries is really poor brunch form. Think about it: would Jesus have swapped his homies for some mesclun greens? This is brunch! Shut up and slap some bourbon whipped cream on that waffle!

3. Multiple beverages are recommended.

Brunch is the only meal when it is common for you to order more than one beverage for yourself. Most people order at least two -- juice and coffee. But up to four beverages is considered completely normal. For instance, if you were to order orange juice, a latte, a Diet Coke, and a Bloody Mary, your server probably would not bat an eye. And refill your water glass, too. Brunch is all about beverages. This is in part because most of the clientele (and waitstaff) is hungover. So the more beverages you order, the more spectacular your Saturday night probably was. If you only order juice, you must not be that dehydrated, i.e. you probably stayed at home with your cat and don't have any good gossip to share while eating your egg-white leek and lobster omelet. SNOOZEFEST.

4. Price-gouging.

Brunch represents the most absurd and obvious price-gouging in the restaurant biz. Egg dishes are going to run you anywhere from $9-15. A dozen eggs retails for about $1.50 in most U.S. supermarkets. Side dishes of toast and potatoes are not exactly pricey either, but that's part of the brunch thrill -- paying through the nose to have someone make something for you
that you absolutely could have made for yourself at home. Brunch is about entitlement, about decadence -- you worked hard all week, right? You DESERVE to pay $3 to have someone toast that English muffin for you. Damn straight. Sure, you could have spent $5 at the farmer's market and put together your own fruit plate, but it wouldn't have looked this nice, now would it?

5. If you're ordering extra Hollandaise, you need to reexamine your life.

Hollandaise sauce is one of the worst things you can put into your body. It consists of egg yolks, butter, and a bit of lemon juice. THAT'S IT. I love me some eggs "Benny" as much as the next girl, but a little Hollandaise goes a long way. 1 cup of Hollandaise has 1,097 calories and 116 grams of fat.

Read that again.

Granted, in most dining establishments, you'll be getting mush less than a cup, but still...before you ask for more, consult your physician. If you want to be "naughty," order another mimosa, for God's sake.

More commandments to come, once I think of them. Till next Sunday.....