How to Order Brunch—3 Different Considerations
It is Saturday morning and you have only recently crawled out of bed. The weather may be warm and sunny, or cold and grey. As you enter your favourite brunch spot, the thought that immediately comes to mind (right after the insatiable desire for caffeine—in any shape or form, preferably piping hot, sweet and creamy, or straight up black) is…
What the heck do I feel like eating?
As the beloved caffeine-induced euphoria begins to course through your brainstem, infusing your body with endorphins, you decide that obviously a process must be followed here. Perhaps the first question is not about what food group is desired, but what is actually needed? The Law of Need Over Desire is, in fact, actually the First Law of Brunch (the Law of Need over Desire, the First Law of Brunch).
If for example, it is the morning after the night before, a.k.a. post-party night, then one should seriously contemplate the food group known as “hangover food”. Generally, this is heavy, often spicy, greasy, and laden with protein and fats. This is designed to soak up any excess alcohol churning in your stomach, calm the turbulent seas that may be causing some queasy feelings, and generally provide long-lasting, slow-release calories while injecting the brain with gratification endorphins that (with apologies) no kale salad can ever provide. What foods fit this category? Such an easy question! The old standards—bacon, sausage and eggs (any style works), or corned beef hash with hash browns—all good choices. If you would prefer to go the ethnic route, a breakfast burrito, Vietnamese pho, or even a Korean pork bone soup works. But make no mistake, these are good, stick-to-your-ribs brunch selections.
The second principle of brunch selection is Desire Over Happiness, which is the second law of brunch. Now some wag would say… aren’t the two things the same? Well, it all depends on your own definition. It comes down to what need is to be fulfilled: savoury versus sweet. I personally am a savoury man. Sweet is like going for dessert, and dessert is something you do in the evening after dinner. Savoury encompasses all the taste buds in the tongue (except for the “sweet” area in the front) so you are much more likely to satisfy yourself. And of course, the options are limitless.
Now comes the third law of brunch selection, Virtue Over Sin. This comes in last place because most people do not think of brunch as being particularly virtuous. Perhaps instead of a night of debauchery as in the first instance, you spent it doing some healthy ashtanga yoga, and you had an early evening after reading the latest Oprah Winfrey Book Club pick. In that case, you can go either devil (the corned beef hash), or far more likely, angel on the path of food righteousness with vegan or vegetarian (the temple that is your body should not be polluted!). Salad of course figures heavily here, or a mix of fruit, or a mix of fruit and salad. Garnished with shaved parmesan, or whipped cream, or some good high-fat nuts aids in the decadence factor, while ensuring your purity remains intact.
So there you have it. A process that you can follow if you are unsure how to best order your brunch. Or, you can just ask the waiter what the person in the table next to you is ordering, and have that.
You really can’t go wrong. Eat what you want at the moment, and try not to sweat the details of how you get there. It will always taste good.
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Jason reads as a respite from a hectic corporate job.
A major traveler, Jason enjoys eating exotic breakfasts (and brunch) at far off locations and reading books to get into the culture of the country in which he is visiting. Favourite reads were My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk in Turkey, White Tiger in India, and Eat Pray Love in Bali.
Favourite book: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Favourite brunch dish: Hanoi style pho