Monday, October 13, 2014

Brunch Is for Jerks

When "Brunch Is for Jerks" ran in The Times, multiple friends directed me to The Gray Lady. They all know of my deep dislike for this alleged "meal." I hate it. I love going out to dinner, and even grabbing breakfast OR lunch, but brunch as the main event on a Saturday or Sunday? No, thank you. 

This has been a lonely opinion for years. I turn down brunch invitations often and try to avoid participating at all costs, but then I miss out on seeing friends and family. It's a lose-lose situation. Lose out on seeing loved ones, or lose out on a full, productive day with multiple meals to boot. So imagine my pleasure at seeing this article in The Times. Finally, people are coming around! 

David Shaftel declares it's gone too far:

Saturday and Sunday mornings in New York’s West Village, where I have lived for nearly 20 years, used to bring an almost pastoral calm. Now they’re characterized by the brunch-industrial complex rumbling to life. By late morning, crowds of brunchers — often hung over and proudly bedraggled — begin to assemble, eager to order from rote menus featuring some variation of mimosas and eggs Benedict.
Julian Casablancas, the lead singer of the Strokes, is also on the anti-brunch team. In response to why he left NYC for somewhere upstate, he quipped, "I don’t know how many, like, white people having brunch I can deal with on a Saturday afternoon.” 

Another team member, Shawn Micallef, wrote a whole book about "The Trouble With Brunch." He argues that "the meal brings out the worst in restaurants and their patrons." As Micallef explains, "[c]hefs bury the dregs of the week’s dinners under rich sauces, arranging them in curious combinations.” Even worse, “brunchers treat servers uncharitably and servers, in turn, view them with contempt.” Shaftel sums up Micallef's thesis: "It’s as if everyone feels entitled to wring as much out of this bad deal as possible."

Shaftel's overall "Brunch Is for Jerks" thesis is that the meal personifies yuppie rejection of adulthood. That seems like a stretch to me. After all, all types of people are drawn to brunch, not just my Young Urban Professional friends. But I do agree that brunch is an overall raw deal. For years I have been forced to explain to incredulous friends and family why I don't like to participate in this wildly popular culinary tradition. Allow me to explain:

A - If the weather is bearable, I hate to be cooped up indoors for hours.
B - I don't like drinking during the day. For many people, day-drinking is the sole purpose of brunch. The mediocre eggs are for show.
C - I get really indecisive when it comes to picking between breakfast or lunch. This is always a hard choice. I'm sure theres a whole chapter in Hillary Clinton's new book dedicated to this very decision. 
D - What a day killer! You wake up early-ish. You overeat overpriced food. You feel too sluggish to exercise. You go home and sit on your couch. The Sunday Scaries set in. You order dinner early because you're starving from not having a proper breakfast and lunch. Later, you get the munchies because you ate dinner too early. You order ice cream or candy from the bodega. You get high on sugar and totally wired. You can't sleep. The next thing you know, you're hitting the snooze button come Monday morning. 

Micallef thinks brunch is growing out of fashion, like a pair of old bell-bottoms. I agree. Time to clean out the closet. 


Photo credit: Tim Lahan via

["Brunch Is for Jerks" The New York Times 10/10/14]

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