The Genius Who Invented Brunch

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Guy Beringer didn’t set out to invent a new meal. Then he had a few drinks...

The next time you’re enjoying a delightful brunch, be sure to clink your glass to the meal’s inventor, Guy Beringer, and his inspiration: the hangover.

The English writer first proposed the idea for the mixed meal in his 1895 essay “Brunch: A Plea.” In it, Beringer defended those nursing their Sunday morning hangovers.

Instead of rousing folks from bed and confronting them with a heavy spread of meat pies, Beringer proposed a midmorning compromise: a hybrid meal that could lead with tea pastries and segue into meatier dishes. That way, brunchers wouldn’t be forced to stuff rich fare down their gullets. Instead, they could slowly shake off their headaches and calm their gurgling stomachs. If someone needed to chase the meal with a hair-of-the-dog cocktail, nobody would judge.

Best of all, Beringer believed that friends could share their debauched tales of the previous evening. “Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting. It is talk-compelling,” Beringer wrote. “It makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings.”

But for all of his pleading, Americans weren’t quick to swipe the idea. The delicious British invention took 30 years to catch on in the States, but we’ve been enjoying Bloody Marys with our pancakes ever since. Thanks, hard-drinking Englishmen!

Anyone for Blunch?

In its earlier years, the word “brunch” didn’t have a monopoly on describing midmorning meals. In 1896, the English magazine Punch warned readers, “The combination-meal, when nearer the usual breakfast hour, is ‘brunch,’ and, when nearer luncheon, is ‘blunch.’ Please don’t forget this.”

This story originally appeared in mental_floss magazine.

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October 20, 2013 - 8:25am
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