Millennials: the Brunch Generation?

Brunch has been a part of my adult life since before I graduated college. Nights out at Kenyon College turned into excuses to nurse myself with a morning spent at the Deli, gossiping over pancakes and waffles dripping with maple syrup, grilled blueberry muffins split in half, omelettes studded with spinach and cheddar and bacon, hash browns breaking into crispy bits on my tongue, and scorching, bottomless coffee.

BrunchYears later, when I moved to my current abode in Brookline, Jewish bakeries called to me with promises of latkes and blintzes. Next door, Allston — home to Boston University, where my twin sister will begin her MBA in the fall — presented a wealth of delicious (and decidedly hipster) hangouts that happen to open at 10 AM on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

I have to admit rather sheepishly that, today, much of my spending money goes towards brunch. It’s a leisure that helps center my week. It’s an excuse to catch up with family and friends who also have busy lives. It’s a chance to eat all my favorite foods!

Brunch is second only to my interest in societal trends. So imagine my excitement when I came across Roberto A. Ferdman and Christopher Ingraham‘s recent Washington Post article, ” How brunch became the most delicious — and divisive — meal in America.” Here’s what I learned:

  • Brunch is popular on the coasts — Massachusetts, New York, and D.C. are home to a high concentration of brunch-lovers — but folks in the American Midwest don’t share the enthusiasm.
  • If you look at brunch love by state, you see a relationship between brunch and the number of a state’s residents who live in cities.
  • There’s a strong relationship between brunch love and a state’s Jewish population.
  • While Ferdman and Ingraham suggest there’s no relationship between a state’s median age and its brunch love, they do say increasing interest in brunch corresponds with a growing trend in how Americans eat breakfast — Actually, in how they don’t eat breakfast. A significant number of adults forego breakfast daily, and most of them are Millennials.

“The fall of breakfast,” say Ferdman and Ingraham, “has opened the door for many breakfast foods … to be eaten on the weekends when schedules aren’t quite as tight, and cravings have built up over the course of the week.”

The article makes reference to Farha Ternikar, author of “Brunch: A History,” which explores the meal as a manifestation of gender and class conflicts. I know what I’ll be reading at the beach this summer!


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