What exactly is brunch? Chad says there’s no such thing, but he hates cupcakes so can he be trusted? I like to look at other brunch books to get (steal) ideas from. Most of the ones I find are from the seventies, their covers speaking of a time when pineapples-as-garnish and copious amounts of raw egg yolks were what it was all about. The ideas are just as dusty as the front covers, but sometimes they just need a little brushing off.
The recipes run the gamut from the everyday (oatmeal) to the unsurprising (scrambled eggs) to the real stumpers (lasagna?) In New York a typical brunch was dim sum at Vegetarian Dim Sum House at Pell Street. Dragging ass to Chinatown with bedhead and smudged mascara from the night before for some greasy goodness was a welcomed tradition. The sunlight hitting your eyes as the D-train crossed the Manhattan bridge was worth it alone. The rest of the day would be spent nursing your tummy into recovery, but so what? It was Sunday. And who can resist treasure boxes?
The typical cravings I get for brunch are usually smoky and earthy and herby; fennel, mushroom, sage, thyme, tempeh. But the big question is always savory or sweet? My favorite way to decide is “both.” A big plate of scrambled tofu and homefries with burnt crispy pieces of onion, but also a plate of pancakes to split between the table. In the winter top them with cinnamon apples, blueberries and lemon for the summer. A little ginger in the batter always. It never smells quite as warm and homey at any other time of day.
As I come to the end of cooking, baking, rolling, kneading, frying and sprinking for the brunch book I’m no closer to understanding what brunch is exactly. Why is it okay to bite into beer battered tofu at 11 am on a Sunday but not 8 am on a Tuesday? The only answer I really have is that someone, somewhere said so.
This book has been so fun to work on. Some of my recipes testers have been with me since Vegan With A Vengeance, some just joined in, but they’re really the heart and soul and elbow and bellybutton of the book writing process. You’ve probably seen some tester photos floating around, but I’m going to share some of my favorites with you.
I’ll share some more soon! And maybe some recipes if I’m not feeling too mean and lazy. The brunch book will be out next Spring!