Even though we all think brunch is a relatively modern invention, its been around since the 1930’s in America! Small town diners would combine breakfast and lunch so, depending on what time people arrived they wouldn’t have to make a choice between french toast and scrambled eggs, or sandwiches and slices of cake. Traditionally, brunch is usually served up until mid-morning, although many restaurants have extended hours at weekends so you could easily walk into one and order brunch at 3 pm!
While the idea of brunch was supposed to make Sunday mornings a little easier if you’d been out late the night before, it was still comprised of dozens of dishes although the food on offer tended to be lighter, creamier and more pleasant. The term was first coined in England in the late 19th century, where ‘brunch’ was offered as an alternative to the meat heavy diet most people were used to. It wasn’t unusual to see pork chops, steak, and sausages on your plate every morning and fish was rarely seen unless it had been caught fresh.
Later on, as more people caught onto the fact that nutrition might be linked to diet healthier choices started to appear. It also meant they didn’t have to rush breakfast before church, as many of the dishes on a typical brunch menu could be eaten cold back at home. Over the years traditional breakfast foods such as eggs, fried tomatoes, ham, sausage, and bacon began appearing alongside exotic fruits, fluffy pancakes, fruit scones, fried potatoes and even yogurts.
In fact, what’s actually happened is brunch now gives us a range of breakfast foods from different countries. The Chinese even have their own take on brunch, serving a variety of soups, dumplings, rice, noodles, savory and sweet steamed buns as well as dim-sum stuffed with pork, prawn or chicken. Dishes are usually small so quite often you’ll pay a flat fee for an all-you-can-eat meal.
To Hostess Or Not?
No one wants to get up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning to start cooking, especially if you’ve been out till late on Saturday night! If you decide to host a relaxed brunch be aware that while a few kind folks will help with fetching and carrying, or may choose to bring a few pastries, like any other meal you’ve hosted you’re responsible for the menu.Try to avoid complicated dishes, it’s A-OK to whip up a Spanish omelet with spinach dip if you know how to cook it, but if not stick to the basics. Now’s not the time to stress over scrambled eggs so decide what you’re going to cook and when before everyone sits down. Of course, to lighten the load you could suggest a potluck brunch where everyone brings a dish they love, or better still, one that they’ve never tried before!
The Night Before
Remember when your mom used to beg you to get everything ready for school the night before? Well, the same goes with brunch because the last thing you want to do when cooking is realize you’ve got no eggs. It’s also worth remembering not everywhere is open on a Sunday in fact, in Norway, most shops are closed so do your shopping earlier in the week just in case. Don’t leave anything in the kitchen that you don’t need too, it’s not like you’re hosting a dinner party on a Saturday night so eat off trays or have a takeaway and pop glasses, silver, and tableware in the dining area. Set up ahead of time too, that way you can check if there are enough tumblers, the salad tongs are clean, and you aren’t worrying about where linen napkins are while trying to pour mimosas!
Have some form of centerpiece, even if it’s just a lovely bunch of fresh cut flowers or a crystal bowl with floating candles. Make sure your coffee maker is ready to go early, and you’ll know the Best K Cups to use if you have a single cup Keurig brewer but do have a full coffee pot as a backup just in case. Due to the relaxed nature of brunch guests tend to linger over coffee and not everyone enjoys a standard cup of joe! Decide if you’re going to be making any latte’s, cappuccino’s and mocha’s yourself or if your guests should go ahead and help themselves.
Make It Easy
The whole point of brunch is that so you’re not slaving away over a hot stove trying to cook a Sunday roast while your friends giggle tipsily in the other room. For instance, smoked salmon blinis, are easy, fast and delicious and can be served hot or cold! Just toast a blini, pop on a dollop of cream cheese and perch a thin slice of rolled salmon on top. Experiment with different flavors and toppings as well as sweet and savory options. Choose an egg based dish you like, or, there’s nothing wrong with picking up a ready-made frittata, casserole or quiche from your local deli.
If the idea of making pancakes for ten fills you with fear, don’t panic! Either make the batter the night before, so that way you only have to cook the mixture or buy a ready-made version. You could also skip pancakes altogether and have French toast served with honey, strawberries and cream and mini chocolate flapjacks. These dishes don’t take long and will satisfy even the strongest dessert cravings. Think outside the brunch box too! Why not bake cheese biscuits, cinnamon rolls, and mini donuts? Grab your donut maker and within five to ten minutes you’ll have a batch of bite size, sweet tasty treats!
Don’t Be A Stranger
Yes, bacon, eggs, fried potato and sausage needs to be cooked but get those under the grill ten minutes before everyone arrives and you’ll be off to a strong start. Remember, your friends want to see you as well as eat so don’t hide away in the kitchen all day! Have drinks ready, alcoholic ones can be presented on a tray while fruit juice is poured out at the table and don’t be afraid to delegate.