Sunday brunch is one of the most glorious inventions in the history of eating. Instead of being scolded for a Saturday night spent drinking and a Sunday morning spent lolling in bed with one’s cat, one is rewarded with a delightful bevy of the best of breakfast and lunch, usually enjoyed in good company. First, one tests the reliability of one’s stomach with some tea or bread with jam, then, that test passed, one ventures on to heartier fare such as meats, cheeses, potatoes, and eggs. Best of all, one is allowed to wash it all down with the help of a socially sanctioned alcoholic beverage—a mimosa, perchance, or a Bloody Mary, or maybe a lovely brandy milk punch—all whilst enjoying a lively conversation with friends concerning such stimulating topics as where one was last night, what one has done, why, and with whom.
But brunch was not always such a venerated tradition. According to an 1896 supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word was first used in England in 1895 in an article by the writer Guy Beringer in the now-defunct publication Hunter’s Weekly.
Instead of the traditional English Sunday dinner, Beringer daringly suggested in “Brunch: A Plea,” “…Why not a new meal, served around noon, that starts with tea or coffee, marmalade and other breakfast fixtures before moving along to the heavier fare? By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday-night carousers.”
But this, Beringer quickly noted, was not the meal’s only aim.
“It would promote human happiness in other ways as well,” he continued. “Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting. It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”
Whatever your reasons, there are plenty of opportunities for a communal brunch. On Sunday, April 29, artsy bed and breakfast The Sanitarium hosts a special brunch from 10 a.m. to noon. For a mere $15, enjoy a delicious brunch by chef Jessamyn Lynn Pattison (veggie scramble with goat cheese, fruit salad, and homemade bread), while listening to live jazz with a twist of soul, courtesy of local musician Josh Collins.
“It’s going to be an event about bringing music, food, and art together,” said Pattison, who hopes to grow the event from a one-time gathering into a monthly happening called Soul Sunday (soul music and soul food!). To RSVP, or to offer suggestions for future events, email [email protected]. The Sanitarium is at 1716 Osos St. in SLO.
Arts Editor Anna Weltner wrote this week’s column … in record time! Send your food and wine news to [email protected].