BY: CHEF JOHN ASH
Apparently the first use of the breakfast/lunch mash-up “Brunch” happened back in 1895. Guy Beringer, a British writer, authored a piece called “Brunch: A Plea” in Hunter’s Weekly. He wanted people to gather for a late breakfast on Sundays not necessarily for the food but for the convivial experience.
Beringer had high hopes: “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday-night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well. Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting. It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”
That may have been a bit of an exaggeration but there is no question that it has become a solid part of our culinary tradition in America. Some historians have derided brunch as simply an excuse for drinking. Well maybe so. Famous brunch drinks include Mimosas, Bloody Mary’s and of course Champagne are all associated with Brunch.
I for one love brunch and, if it is an excuse to have a good glass of Champagne or California sparkling wine, so be it. I agree with Beringer that brunch does help us slow down and is a great excuse for being with family and friends which is so hard to do during the rest of our busy weeks. Here then are some ideas then for you to serve at your next brunch gathering.
On the Menu:
• Buttermilk Cinnamon Coffee Cake
• Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict
• Salad of Fennel, Pears, Persimmons and Fig Vinaigrette
• My Grandmother’s Cheese Blintzes
• Champagne Sabayon with Fresh Berries
This article is from John Ash’s monthly feature at the Press Democrat.
Chef John Ash, Advisor to EatRx
Many refer to Chef John Ash as the “Father of Wine Country Cuisine”. In 1980 he opened his namesake restaurant, John Ash & Company, in Santa Rosa, CA. which gained international acclaim and still is critically applauded.
He has co-hosted a radio show for 32 years in Northern California. He also hosted two shows on the Food Network. John is an instructor at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone in the Napa Valley. John has consulted with a broad range of clients including Sonoma Cutrer Winery, Del Monte Foods, Viking River Cruises and others.
In 2008 John was voted “Cooking School Teacher of the Year” by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. John is a champion of sustainable food issues, having served for several years on the Board of the Chef’s Collaborative, as well the Board of Seafood Watch, an educational initiative of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
John has written 5 books and is a two-time James Beard Award winner. Culinary Birds won a 2014 James Beard award and John Ash Cooking One-on-One won in 2005. He has authored two other books: From the Earth to the Table and American Game Cooking. The former was awarded the IACP Julia Child Cookbook of the Year. His latest book Cooking Wild was published in summer of 2016 by Running Press. He writes occasionally for culinary magazines such as Fine Cooking and Eating Well and contributes regularly to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
John was also honored in 2014 by the Monterey Bay Aquarium as “Sustainable Seafood Educator of the Year”. He was recently inducted into the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers for his love and work with cheese.
More great recipes on Chef John Ash’s website!