David Shaftel recently wrote an op-ed in the New York Times called "Brunch Is For Jerks" in which he enumerates all the ways that this midday meal is a horrific assault on all five senses and everything that is enjoyable about living in an urban area.
Of course, Shaftel has eaten many, many brunches in his day: "A particularly memorable fondue brunch in Chelsea that began at noon and broke up in a dive bar 15 hours later comes to mind. And there was the hedonistic all-day affair in Dubai, where I topped off courses of Japanese, Chinese and Lebanese food with a full English roast beef dinner, all consumed while hovering above the desert in an air-conditioned five-star hotel restaurant and guzzling a jeroboam of Veuve Clicquot. Nor am I immune to doing a little brunch legwork — I’ve been known to travel great distances for well-prepared grits."
But I guess he doesn't want other people to enjoy what he has — more thoroughly than most of us I might add. Now that he has a kid, and has to be up early on the weekends, brunchers are just annoying people who are (heaven forbid) out enjoying themselves on the weekend. Sounds like he is both pretty unhappy about his life and, not to put too fine a point on it — a hypocrite.
Since there's no real point in going on about the various ways Shaftel is wrong, I will, instead point out all the ways that brunch is right.
1. It's healthier (or can be): Many of the brunchers Shaftel rails against are people in their early 20s who roll out of bed post-night-out to get some hair-of-the-dog and a big greasy meal to assuage their hangovers. While that might be fun, it's probably not too healthy. But brunch can be, and that's how I treat it. Per the image I chose to accompany this article, I see brunch as a time to get into the fruit, as an excuse to order fancy fruit-juice concoctions, and to eat a large-but balanced meal with all four food groups.
If you stick to fruits and veggies, whole grains, eggs, and just one 'treat' kind of food, whether that be a fancy coffee or splitting a croissant with a friend, brunch is a fun meal to healthify (and if you're like me, an excuse to let someone else do all the fruit-cutting). And if you wait to eat brunch until 11 or noon, you're not going to want to eat a big dinner, making it a great meal to fully enjoy with less guilt, since I find that on brunch days, I eat fewer calories overall.
2. It's a time to see friends and family: Many years ago, people lived in the same towns as, or nearby their family, so Sunday dinners were the norm. Most people today live far from family, and I don't know anyone who eats a Sunday dinner anymore. Whether you are single, child-free, or with kids, Sunday nights are not an easy time to get together.
Everyone is prepping for Monday on Sunday evening—my friends with kids would never go out to dinner on this night, as kids are finishing up homework and organizing for the week, and I usually work Sunday evenings so I can quit early on Fridays. Sunday mornings, however, are still free time, and it's much easier to get people together then. It just makes sense to move a weekly meal earlier in the day — and that's much healthier than skipping it altogether — a healthy social network is vital to mental and physical health of people of all ages.
3. It's cheaper: Not to say that brunch is cheap, but if you eat one meal out in a week, most brunches handily beat the cost of a dinner out, especially if you choose not to drink. You get a large, convivial meal for lower cost and the rest of the day to digest it.
So if brunch is for jerks, call me a healthy, happy jerk with more money in my pocket.
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