BrunchThe Weekend Club
Brunch can act as a time portal of sorts, both in its ability to return us to simpler times, as well as being effective in blurring our own perception of time passings.
Something magical happens in New York City at the weekends. It begins at around 11 am for the ambitious early birds, and blends into the late afternoon, fuelled by Bellinis, Eggs Benedict, and browned wholegrain toast with apple butter on the side. Breakfast doesn’t really exist at the weekend in New York City, only the pursuit of the perfect brunch, with its holy cross section of breakfast items such as eggs, bacon, pancakes, waffles, French toast, and cereal centre stage to bask in the glorious prime time spotlight they always deserved. Every culture has its own sacred food ritual – the Spanish have their postprandial siesta, the Cantonese have dim sum, while the English have their Sunday roasts – for New Yorkers, this is our precious portmanteau with its own unique secrets. The most basic rules are these; eat breakfast foods at lunchtime, drink copious amounts of bottomless mimosas when available, and be merry. It’s an experience and an event, a combination of a leisurely day off and an occasion to get together and catch up, and a recovery programme to help nurse hangovers from the night before. It is the sweetest of meals.
What is it exactly that draws New Yorkers to this amorphous breakfast-slash-lunch hour? Could it be that brunch is an act of rebellion? For most of our lives, meal times have been dictated to us. We eat a specific range of foods served at specific time slots precisely three times a day. If the right kind of food isn’t available to us at the right time, we cry until it is. For New Yorkers, the anxious, angsty teenagers that we are, brunch is our chance to break the rules. It gives us permission to throw away the mundane routine of our nine-till-seven workdays by eating breakfast at three in the afternoon without apology, drinking during the day without judgement, and turning a simple meal into a long, drawn out affair without regard to real life responsibilities. We are adults now, we are saying, who do what we want, when we want, and if that means enjoying ricotta pancakes with a side of rosemary fingerling potatoes a little later than normal, then we’re going to do it.
In direct contrast to our first theory, for some, it seems brunch represents a return to innocence and an escape from adulthood. It’s a special time to nourish an inner child who has been repeatedly neglected, discouraged, and beaten down by societal expectations and norms. Brunch can act as a time portal of sorts, both in its ability to return us to simpler times, as well as being effective in blurring our own perception of time passings. The comforting tastes of the foods we enjoyed as children unleashes our purest self, allowing it come out and eat, drink, and play freely. In short, at brunch, one returns to an uninhibited state of wonder. For others of course, it’s a much simpler equation with brunch adding up to great food, good friends, and an excuse for daytime drinking. In order to decide which theory works best for you, why not call some friends, sit, and take a few hours to digest.