Brunch: When breakfast and lunch make a baby.“Brunch: When breakfast and lunch make a baby.iStockphoto/Thinkstock

There are many delightful meals waiting to be enjoyed on any particular day. For starters, there’s breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, supper and don’t forget all the prime opportunities for snacking in between. But one of the most magical of meals has to be brunch. Firmly slotted, both etymologically and chronologically, between breakfast and lunch, brunch brings the best of both worlds to the table.

But depending on where you are geographically, the food you can expect to find as you serving-spoon your way through the traditional brunch buffet can vary a bit. Of course, many basic items are considered staples in the world of killer brunch cuisine — eggs, for example, are rarely neglected at a top-notch meal. What can vary, however, is the preferred method of egg preparation. Perhaps you’re rolling with an eggs Benedict kind of crowd, or maybe omelets are the local obsession. Whatever the case, there’s a good chance something that popped out of a chicken will be landing squarely in the middle of your plate at any brunch.

So the question is this: How can you know what to expect when breakfast is a fast-fading memory and brunch is looming heavily on the horizon? Well, be still your quivering tummy, because you’re about to find out. But before we dive in and eat, let’s take a moment to enjoy the roots of the word "brunch." According to the Online Etymological Dictionary, we have the hipster Brits of the 1890s to thank for popularizing the tradition of verbally slamming breakfast straight into lunch.

So what’s the first rule of brunch club? Don’t keep it a secret! Just be plenty proficient at balancing a loaded plate as you maneuver toward your seat. On the next page, we’ll discuss some of the gastronomical goodies that you could be cramming onto your particular platter depending on where you happen to be positioned in the world.


Brunch: Never a Dull Moment!

We were thinking of sharing a photo of black pudding, but we're not that cruel. Here's a cheerful little doughnut instead. Enjoy!“We were thinking of sharing a photo of black pudding, but we’re not that cruel. Here’s a cheerful little doughnut instead. Enjoy!iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Like we mentioned on the last page, there are lots of brunch items that are fairly universal. Eggs, bacon, pancakes, hash browns, muffins, bagels, pastries, sausages, waffles and fruit are a few examples. Throw in a casserole, maybe a quiche, and you’ve got yourself a brunch spread to be proud of. Then there’s the collection of staple beverages: OJ, coffee, fruit smoothies, and, of course, the ever-popular Bellini and the Bloody Mary.

But depending on where you are, you could end up with unique items on your plate courtesy of your locale. For example, New Englanders enjoying the excitement of a midmorning meal might decide to serve up some clam chowder to hungry guests. In the South, grits are a great favorite at the brunch table, along with hushpuppies and tall glasses of sweet iced tea. Swing over to the Southwest (passing through gumbo and jambalaya territory along the way) and those creamy grits could be swapped for some spicy chili. Head on up to the Northwest and you might find yourself snacking on some salmon or crab cakes. Back in the Midwest, someone whipping up brunch might toss some brats on the grill or whip out a plateful of cheese curds.

And what about those Brits we were discussing on the last page? Well, one item they sometimes serve at brunch is known as black pudding. Be warned: It is not for the faint of heart, so if your taste buds are not often described as "bold" or "insanely excited about eating animal components that would typically end up in the trash," we recommend you politely pass on this particular dish. British people have also been sighted loading up their plates with such foodstuffs as kippers and kidney pie. Again, always tread carefully if you happen to find yourself in unfamiliar territory come brunch time.

On the next page, get links to lots more articles full of tips and tricks for whipping up the perfect meal.

Lots More Information

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  • Web site. (4/5/2010)
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  • "Brunch." Online Etymology Dictionary. (4/5/2010)
  • "Brunch." The Food Timeline. (4/5/2010)
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  • Food Network Web site. (4/5/2010)
  • Leco, Mike. "Cooking in the USA." (4/5/2010)
  • TLC Cooking Web site. (4/5/2010)
  • What’s Cooking America Web site. (4/5/2010)


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