Brunch is a meal that is eaten in the late morning or early afternoon, generally between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM. A typical brunch combines elements of breakfast and lunch, reflecting the fact that it is supposed to serve for both meals. Many people associate it with the weekends, particularly Sundays, perhaps because many people are able to sleep in on the weekends, making a late breakfast and early lunch combination more appealing. Technically, like breakfast, this meal can be served on any day of the week.
The term is a portmanteau of “breakfast” and “lunch,” and its first appearance was in 1896, in Punch magazine. Evidence seems to suggest that brunch originated in the British upper classes. Many upper-class homes gave servants partial or full days off on Sunday, so the staff would lay out a buffet spread in the morning that allowed people to graze for breakfast and lunch items. Punch originally brought up brunch to lampoon it, and the tradition of making fun of this meal endures to this day in some circles.
Any number of foods can be served at brunch, ranging from traditional breakfast foods like pancakes and sausages to more lunch-like items, like seafood cocktails. It often features heavy, greasy foods, perhaps because people might be hungover when they consume it, and such foods are treated as hangover cures in some communities. Upscale brunch is often accompanied with mixed drinks like mimosas or bloody Marys, and sometimes champagne is served as well.
Before attending afternoon events such as weddings and sports matches, some people like to eat brunch. The idea is that a single filling meal will sustain people into the early evening, when dinner will be served. It is also viewed as a luxury in some regions of the world, and it may be offered to people on their birthdays and on other special occasions. Brunch in bed in particular is considered a form of pampering reserved for particularly special days.
Many hotels serve brunch to their guests on the weekends, as do resorts, cruise ships, and other vacation destinations. Some restaurants may offer this meal, especially if they already do a regular lunch service. People can also make brunch at home, although many people view it as a meal that is eaten outside the home.