A Complete Idiot's Guide To Brunch
Most people believe brunch was invented by Hollywood and muffin enthusiasts, which is true, but that is only half the story. Brunch dates back to the start of the Industrial Revolution, a time when people didn’t have enough excuses to get out of going to church. It is a portmanteau of “bring” and “lunch” because it brings breakfast to lunch. You might be tempted to use the internet, but really, the best way to find a good brunch is to look for the longest line on the coldest sidewalk with the most severe looking patrons. If people are screaming at their friends on cell phones saying: “No! They won’t seat us unless we’re a complete party!” then you know you have the right place.
Brunch is also the favorite meal of anyone who loves waiting. Little known fact: Mr. Big’s To Be With You was written in a restaurant doorway while a hostess kept asking him to “Please keep this lane clear for the servers.” A host or hostess is the first person who will greet you at the restaurant. They will probably say something like “How many?” and what they mean by that is “Please wait here for 45 minutes.”
If they ask you: “Are you here for brunch?” You are in the wrong restaurant. They should know there is no other earthly reason you would be up this early on a Sunday. People don’t shove themselves 18-deep inside a vestibule for breakfast; this is brunch.
Make sure to settle in and really enjoy all the suspense of the brunch line. You might see another party get seated and wonder if your host forgot about you. You should know that every time you ask the host about another party or check on how long the wait is, they move you back down the list two spots. Learn from my experience; as I write this, I am technically still in the midst of waiting for a brunch table at a restaurant from three weeks ago.
Sweet vs. Savory: The Dilemma
The most important thing about brunch is to go in even numbers. You must get one savory item and one sweet item, and then switch halfway through the meal. If you have five people, just kill one. Committing murder is better than having to face the sweet v. savory brunch dilemma. It is a problem that stretches back to the dawn of time. Don’t believe me? Consider this: Christopher Columbus actually had a t-shirt made that says, “I was looking for a spice that was both sweet and savory, but all I found was this stupid continent where people were already living.” It’s on display at its permanent home in the Museum of Patriotic History and T-shirts in Boston, Massachusetts.
Once you’ve crossed the threshold and become “diners” (as opposed to “waiting folk,” which is the scientific term for former human beings in a brunch queue) it is very important that you make others wait. Waffle over your waffle order. Try something disgusting called a “scone.”* You need to exert the power of your chair and lord your table over waiting folk, or they’ll never understand just how important brunch really is to them. The best way to accomplish this is to have everyone in your party recount the activity of their previous evening in excruciating detail. This will also come in handy when you later frame one of them for that murder you committed to even up the numbers.
*Often mistaken for a food item, a “scone” is an English object used to hold down tablecloths.
The rest of your Sunday after a brunch should be split evenly between two categories: figuring out the bill and napping. Despite the fact that it was likely a prix fixe*, these two activities will take up roughly the same percentage of your day before nightfall. What that means is you will spend about two hours with the bill and two hours in a napping stupor, and then it will be dark outside. The reason for that is: mimosas. If you follow this guide closely and give everything you have, you will get a meal you could have made at home for $1.25 and you will finish in time to watch television shows on premium cable.
*A prix fixe is a French term with no known correct pronunciation. In English, it means “overpay.”
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