Skip to content

Ergo Sum

Personal tools
You are here: Home » Members » cmcurtin's Home » Brunch


Document Actions
Sharing a meal is perhaps the most fundamental of all human social interaction. Such an important function is no doubt worthy of the attention that has been given to the development of the culinary arts. While I do intend to discuss the virtues of a fine dining experience, I write neither of an evening dinner nor a luncheon. Instead, I wish to focus on another meal entirely: brunch.

We all know brunch as the breakfast at lunchtime that seems so well suited to weekends and other days of rest. You can have eggs, fruit, toast francais (so to speak), a steak, or a sandwich. You can mix and match any combination thereof. You can drink tea, coffee, wine, or have a cocktail. You can have dessert. Is any other meal half as flexible?

Perhaps the notion of brunch is one that seems strange now, maybe even a displaced tradition in a post-aristocratic society. Brunch is an obvious way to start the day when one starts it in the early afternoon before attending to some business or other before dressing for yet another evening of dining in the first circles and night of pointless social intercourse. (Think: La Traviata Act II, Scene 2 to complete the picture I intend for you to conjure.) Curiously, the origin of brunch appears not to be European aristocracy but right here in the United States in the nineteenth century.

Two critical brunch offerings are Eggs Benedict and the Bloody Mary cocktail. My extensive research on the topic has turned up some interesting stories about the origins of Eggs Benedict. (Although I doubt that the Nobel committee will award me its prize in humanities for the work, it should be pointed out that I was very diligent in my use of Google.) One story says that Mrs. LeGrand Benedict, longing for something different from the usual offerings, negotiated with the maitre d' at Delmonico's in New York City in 1893. Another says that in 1894 Wall Street stock broker Lemuel Benedict, fighting the effects of a hangover, asked for toast, bacon, poached eggs, and hollandaise at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York.

The Bloody Mary apparently comes from Harry's New York Bar in Paris and was brought to New York in the 1930s. I found two possible origins for the name of the drink: one of the bar's patrons who said the drink reminded him of a girl named Mary from the Bucket of Blood Club in Chicago or "Bloody Mary" Tudor.

In any case, brunch need not be a case of having something to eat after failing to roll out of bed before noon. I am typically already out and about on Sunday and as the hour of 1:00 p.m. approaches, I am ready to enjoy a good meal and good company, without regard to anyone's schedule. (Sadly, the state of Ohio manages to interfere with this somewhat, as I am not permitted to order wine before 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. It's a good thing, too, for who knows in what sort of tomfoolery I would engage if I sipped a bit of grape at 12:46 p.m.)

On a recent Sunday trip to Lindey's in German Village, I had an excellent variation on Eggs Benedict called, oddly enough, Eggs Lindey's: poached eggs atop petit filet mignon on an English muffin, covered in tasso hollandaise sauce, complete with a side of fruit. I had a nice glass of Cabernet Sauvignon along with it, followed by coffee and a chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream.

The food was delicious. The service was competently rendered. The ambiance was charming. The company was delightful. And I have no idea how long we were there. It was perfect.

Created by cmcurtin
Last modified 2004-10-14 02:17 PM
In Print

This site conforms to the following standards: