The Evolution of Brunch- Feature Article 2012

The History of Brunch from the late 19th Century

“Instead of England’s early Sunday dinner, a post-church ordeal of heavy meats and savoury pies, why not a new meal, served around noon, that starts with tea or coffee . . . By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers.” Guy Beringer, 1895.

Brunch is, of course, a portmanteau of "breakfast" and "lunch(eon)" and originated in Britain in the late 19th century as a student slang term. According to the 1st August 1896 issue of the British magazine, Punch, the word ‘brunch’ was first published by Hunter’s Weekly in an article aptly titled “Brunch: A Plea” written by Guy Beringer. He prophetically stated, “To be fashionable nowadays we must brunch.”

Beringer was a remarkable visionary, picturing that the meal could also be accompanied by alcoholic beverages, thus paving the way for traditional brunch drinks like the Bloody Mary, Mimosa or Bellini.

Brunch became popular in the United States in the 1930s in Chicago, when movie stars, celebrities and the wealthy (who were taking transcontinental train rides), stopped off in Chicago between trains for a late morning meal. This trend continued as the more formal 1950s gave way to the '60s and large formal Sunday lunches gave way to more casual brunches. Soon however, what began as a rebellion against long formal meals began to be distorted by the upper class into elaborate meals that they called brunch. The cuisine evolved as well. In the 1940s, The New York Times documents that the Fifth Avenue Hotel served a "Sunday Strollers' Brunch'' consisting of "sauerkraut juice," "clam cocktails" and "chicken liver omelette in Madeira." Today, the menus are an eclectic blend of breakfast, lunch, dim sum brunch and the "drunk brunch" to further complicate things.

Rain or shine, brunch lures everybody: couples who may or may not have met the night before, young people treating their parents, couples with children, young women in pairs or 10-strong gangs full of a month’s worth of celebrations.
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The brunch scene in Cayman is truly a social affair. Decadent champagne brunch options include: The Ritz-Carlton, The Westin and Luca with all you can sip free-flowing sparkles. Brunch with a Caribbean twist is served up at Cimboco and Guy Harvey’s with ackee & codfish, Cayman style snapper, jerk chicken, conch fritters and curry goat. Agua serves extravagant displays of seafoods, ceviche and tiraditos. Prime features a traditional Brazilian brunch with carvery stations. Brunch has now fully evolved to include pampered pooches for the dog-set.

Ortanique has a savoury brunch for Fido, “Sunday Doggy Brunch”, complete with a four-course sausage meal for your furry friends at Camana Bay.

From flip-flops to the well-heeled scene, there is a brunch for everyone on Cayman. Brunch tip: Reservations are highly recommended!