When my girlfriend dumped me, I broke up with brunch, too.
The venerable weekend tradition is a well-oiled gastronomic sham, a frivolous use of the midday hours and a swindle that preys upon people in relationships.
I myself was a victim of this romantic parasite at least twice a month. But being dumped has liberated me (I hope, forever) from paying lots of money for my morning eggs and washing it down with a Mimosa I never wanted.
Some of you — men and women, single and spoken for — are nodding your head in agreement, but the rest of you, you who are about to choke down a $15 asparagus, heirloom tomato and Serrano ham frittata, hear me out.
Let me preface this screed by saying that I harbor no ill will or prejudice against any devotee of the not-quite-breakfast, not-quite-lunch meal of the week — if you can’t live without Dizzy’s basket of baked goods, then so be it. I’m just describing one of the benefits (and there are a few) of being an unattached man in Brooklyn in 2008.
Waiting on a long line to foot an inflated bill for a gussied up rendition of eggs or waffles, and a hot cup of coffee, could not be any less appetizing these days. All that comfort food can be whipped up in the comfort of my own home in no time and without breaking open the piggy bank.
Restaurant pros have been admitting that brunch is an ugly scene at least since celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain took a bite out of it in his memoir “Kitchen Confidential,” pointing out that the menu is often repackaged leftovers prepared by the least skillful cooks and sold for jacked-up prices.
Yet there’s no shortage of my neighbors diving into the fray.
“Brunch is a little bit like a war,” said Berton Schaeffer, a manager at Blue Ribbon Brooklyn on Fifth Avenue, which abandoned my least-favorite meal in favor of late-night dining. “I see the lines outside and the craziness to get into the good places. It’s a nightmare.
“I’m not going to wait in line for brunch. I’ll get some eggs and make them myself,” Schaeffer said.
While the hungry hordes queue up in broad daylight for hedonistic feasts on Smith Street, DeKalb Avenue or, in my new neighborhood, on Cortelyou Road, I’ll already be amply fed, invigorated from a bike ride in Prospect Park and halfway done with the overly hefty the Old Gray Lady (not to mention the latest award-nominated edition of The Brooklyn Paper).
My resistance to the beloved, artery-clogging, weekend-only gorging and self-inflicted fleecing openly rattled some of my friends. Am I losing my faith in all the modern institutions that hold society, or at least Brooklyn, together in one seamless piece?
“Next thing you know, you’ll stop shopping at the farmer’s market and watching independent movies,” one friend fretted. What does she think comes after that in my unraveling? A return to the suburbs? NRA membership? The horror.
Yet my declaration to avoid brunch has uncovered an unexpected number of sympathizers and not just among other eligible bachelors. The evidence is anecdotal, but there’s a huge subculture of Brooklynities turned off by brunching. The predictable menus bore people, the deviation from the normal three-meals-a-day schedule is disorienting and it’s almost impossible to get anything done pre- and post-brunch, members of the silent majority told me.
On the bright side, if you persist on brunching, at least there will be one less person vying for an al fresco table at the next new cafe that opens.