Brunch may appear to be a millennial phenomenon, but it actually goes back much, much further.
Originally, brunch was the 19th Century hangover cure. The term, which are the words breakfast and lunch sandwiched together, was allegedly coined by an Englishman called Guy Beringer in 1895. The meal was reputedly designed for “Saturday-night carousers” who were too hungover to get out of bed on Sunday morning.
Other sources credit early 1900s New York reporter Frank Ward O’Malley with coming up with the term as a way of describing the odd eating habits of newspaper journalists.
Popularised and (supersized) by Americans, this stylish Sunday hangover cure was quickly exported throughout the world. Comic books in the 1960s, cooking books and even smash-hit 90s TV shows such as Sex in the City has helped make brunch mainstream. Today, everywhere from the UK and Dubai to South Africa and China enjoy their own version of brunch.
]With that said, brunch has taken millennials by storm. So, what is behind the explosion of this generation’s late elevenses? Emma Bricknell, Owner of Made in Belfast, has the answer after launching her new brunch menu: “Maybe it really is the best hangover cure on a Sunday. Perhaps it’s the perfect opportunity to catch up with friends and recap the previous night’s shenanigans.”
Or maybe it’s just a sign of the times. Income is meagre and prices are steep, then after squandering all of Fridays paycheck in the bar, getting up and eating later saves money on a couple of meals. If brunch is timed right, it could be the only meal of the day. So it’s possible it ticks a box that says ‘all of the above’. Or simply, it’s an excellent excuse to make drinking before noon socially acceptable.
Alternatively, it could be a case of a lifestyle change among 20-somethings. Over the previous decade, brunch has quickly overtaken breakfast, lunch and dinner as the most popular meal of the day. Restaurants everywhere are reporting longer lines than ever before, proving that the love affair with brunch is far from over. A study by Fahrha Ternikar, who wrote the academic; Brunch: A History, claims that brunch’s popularity has been steadily on the rise since 2004.
The two most popular days for brunch were Mother’s Day and Easter Sunday. Ternikar also noted that there is a correlation between those with disposable income and those who eat brunch. After all, brunch has its roots firmly planted in high society, who possessed both the time and the money to drag breakfast into lunch as a social affair. While modern-day vape-toting hipsters may not have the income – they do have the time.
What’s clear though, is that brunch represents a culinary pillar of our society. So, sleep in a little longer, skip breakfast, then let’s have brunch.