If you are at all familiar with the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, you understand the importance of meals in the life of a healthy hobbit. It is considered blasphemous to stray from the established progression of eating times. A hobbit should start the day with breakfast, followed by second breakfast, elevensies, lunch, afternoon tea, supper, and finally dinner. With each of these meals comes special appreciation and ceremony, not to mention delectable food. Frankly, the hobbits know how to do it. Now, unfortunately, we can’t all eat like hobbits. One, we’d all be morbidly obese. Two, American culture, full of hustle and bustle and meals for sustenance alone, doesn’t generally allow for such commitment to meal times. There is one special meal that we whip out occasionally, however, that briefly channels our inner hobbits and fills us with content. This meal is brunch. It’s sort of like breakfast, second breakfast, and elevensies all in one. We all know that brunch is worlds better than breakfast and universes better than lunch. Why exactly is that though? Firstly, brunch by definition takes place in the late morning. If you’re gathering over a meal in the late morning, it most likely indicates that you’re having a pretty leisurely day. Maybe you got to sleep in, hang in your pajamas a while, relax with the paper, go for a walk. Regardless, you didn’t have any where to be at the crack of dawn. When you sit down to eat, your mind is on the food and the company rather than a mile-long to do list or how much gas is in your car or whether your team is really ready for that presentation.
In regards to brunch food, it really is the stuff dreams are made of. Contrasting to that hurried breakfast of cereal or a sandwich at lunch, brunch is a carefully prepared smorgasbord of the best morning time foods. You have delightfully colorful fruit salads. You have your staples: eggs, sausage, bacon, toast, jams, and the like. A tasty casserole or quiche might grace the table, specialties often forgotten except for at the miracle of brunch. Then there are the real stars of the show. Brunch, in its exceptional nature, invites a certain amount of indulgence. Sweet breads, muffins, pastries, the ooey, gooey, sticky, and sweet, hop excitedly from recipe book to oven to brunch table. This is how they were made to be enjoyed. In the grand atmosphere of a relaxed group gathered over coffee, sunlight and bird song streaming through the window, the table set just so, these scrumptious treats can be enjoyed at optimum levels.
Though the food and relaxed nature of brunch really do make it fabulous, one other factor may contribute above all. No one eats brunch alone. You may eat brunch-y foods at a brunch-y time of day, but if no one else is seated at the table it is simply not brunch. Sharing meals give them a sense of occasion. It forces us to be willing to spend an hour or two with no other priorities other than conversation and eating. This is the hobbit approach to eating that we so seldom enjoy. In the mystical land of brunch, though, it is ours for the taking.