In Praise of the Family Brunch

While the weekday family dinner can be tough to pull of for the obvious reasons, Sunday brunch is just about the only time that the fam’s guaranteed to be in one place. It’s the middle of the weekend. And even better, the pressure’s off: everyone’s refreshed (ideally) from a solid Saturday night’s sleep.

We’re super casual about it, bordering on uncreative about making it a bit special. While cereal, smoothies, and frozen waffles dominate the midweek breakfasts, on weekends we cook eggs, in some fashion (the norm has become the exception). We cook bacon or pancetta (if we have it). We have buttered toast. We have a salad. Sometimes we make waffles from scratch or from a box. Sometimes we make pancakes, with the kids helping with the mixing of the batter. But usually it’s the kids going nuts throughout the house, the smell of a hot (a novel idea) breakfast wafting through on top of the chaos. And a shared meal. Shared with no rush. And that’s an ideal family meal.

Here are few tricks to make the family brunch a bit more special:

-take whatever vegetables you might have leftover from the Saturday meal and roll them up in an omelette with some cheese. (roast broccoli and goat cheese is a fave of ours). We’ll also spoon tomato sauce from a pasta over eggs (scrambled, fried, omeletted. whatever).

-make a tower of toast: I toast 8 (count ‘em 8) pieces of toast, and butter the heck out of them. I stack em and slice em and put it on a plate in the middle of the table. It’s a fatty starch tower and it’s lovely.

-set up a cereal bar: put out every box of cereal you’ve got and a carton (or gallon) of milk on the sideboard or table or whatever. It’s like a hotel. And it’s fun. No impositions, just a free form cereal free for all.

-make eggs to order: let the kids order, like at a diner.

-microwave the bacon (or other cured pork). I might be a dork for arriving at this so late in life, but microwaving bacon is freakishly easy and keeps the stove clean for other messes (like pancakes and french toast)

-make a salad: for some reason salad tastes better than ever on a Sunday morning. And for some reason it seems easier to make. Is it the sunlight? No idea, but an arugula and sliced tomato salad with a red wine vinaigrette and some shaved parm and salt and pepper to taste cannot be beat come 10:27 am Sunday.
–Hugh

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3 Responses to In Praise of the Family Brunch

  1. youthlarge says:

    i’m really against microwaving bacon. i’ll do it in a pinch, but i much prefer broiling it in a toaster oven. it takes longer, but the result is so much better.

  2. matthew says:

    I kinda agree with you. You need the broiler to get the full crispiness no?

  3. hugh Garvey says:

    I agree: pan frying and broiling are superior techniques. But when two kids are threatening to riot and the pancake and egg pans are taking up precious burner space on my 30 inch range, a few strips of bacon on a plate go crisp with minimal mess in a few minutes. I don’t know what the science is, but a microwave can actually crisp up bacon, whereas it seems to just make everything else go soggy. Go figure? Matthew: isn’t it 4 a.m. in Cardiff? That’s a tad early for bacon.

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