The word itself was coined in 1894 by Guy Beringer, a British writer who proposed a new meal, a blending of breakfast and luncheon fare to be served around noon on Sunday.
It wasn't long before this caught on as either a grand or casual cosy way to make the weekend special.
Betty Rosbottom often holds brunches, sometimes for just a few friends or for a crowd, on a special occasion like an anniversary, birthday or during festive holidays.
The Amherst, Mass., cooking teacher, syndicated columnist and cookbook author has compiled her brunch experience into a new cookbook, “Sunday Brunch: Simple, Delicious Recipes for Leisurely Mornings” (Chronicle Books, paperback, C$22.95).
“Eggs are almost always the mainstay of brunches along with bacon, tender biscuits, fresh fruit and pots of steaming coffee,” she says.
And this is where Rosbottom believes such ingredients can be the basis of an inexpensive way to entertain.
“Egg dishes like omelettes, scrambled or poached are a good bargain and most people like them,” she adds.
Rosbottom says that brunches are an ideal way for people of all ages to entertain.
“I not only think seniors like it because of the earlier time frame, but working people find it a nice relaxing way to entertain their friends and family,” she says. “And as they usually end by mid-afternoon, they are not having to clean up at 11 p.m.”
Rosbottom says they are also a great way for novice cooks who haven't a lot of experience “to try their hand at whipping up simple pancakes or waffles or any of the egg recipes in my book.”
All in all, this type of entertaining is extremely flexible and casual and can be held in the kitchen, dining or living room, she suggests.
The book has more than 50 recipes, including the preparation of every kind of egg: poached, scrambled, baked, omelette or souffled. It contains special versions of Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes With Blueberry Sauce and her show-stopping Espresso-Scented Coffee Cake.
The following is Rosbottom’s version of her favourite scrambled eggs.
Best-Ever Scrambled Eggs
125 g (4 oz) cream cheese, room temperature, cut into 1-cm (1/2-inch) pieces
22 ml (1 1/2 tbsp) chopped flat-leaf parsley or chives, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
37 ml (2 1/2 tbsp) unsalted butter
In a large bowl, whisk eggs just to blend. Add cream cheese and half of the parsley and season with a pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper. Stir to mix.
Melt butter in a large, non-stick frying pan set over medium heat. When butter is melted and is hot but not smoking, swirl pan so butter covers bottom of pan and then add egg mixture. With a wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula, stir eggs slowly until they just hold together and are cooked through, 2 1/2 to 4 minutes. The eggs should still be moist and glistening.
Transfer to a serving platter and season with a few grinds of pepper. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve.
Makes 4 servings.