Ode to Brunch



The most important meal of the day.

Brunch (Courtesy of the Harvard Independent)
Brunch (Courtesy of the Harvard Independent)

Sunday is both a blessing and a curse. For many students, the day of Sabbath begins with a nasty hangover from a wild Saturday night and the crushing realization that the day will consist of grinding through a massive pile of previously neglected work —cpenitence for a night of debauchery, if you will. But there is one beacon of hope, one shining bright light at the end of the tunnel, on a day that will be otherwise hellish.

Brunch. This combination of lunch and the most important meal of the day is the most important, delicious, and decadent meal of the week; the only time when it is completely acceptable to eat the equivalent of two meals in one. It can be done many ways, and each way is glorious in its own right.

You can do brunch with friends, a significant other, or even by yourself if you’re feeling reclusive. Whether you eat in a D-hall or out in Boston or Harvard Square, brunch is guaranteed to satisfy. I’ve done it in all of these ways, and as a self-certified brunch expert, I will now share with you the best aspects of each.

Brunch with friends is always a good time. Since it’s brunch, stuffing yourself like a turkey on Thanksgiving is pretty much a given. But you also get to catch up and gossip! What better way to hear about all of your friends’ weekend escapades than over a plate of piping hot, syrup-slathered, butter-soaked pancakes?

Brunch with a significant other is a test. How comfortable are you around each other, really? It’s always entertaining to observe couples at brunch because the answer to this question becomes very clear. For guys, eating around a significant other isn’t usually an issue, but for girls, it definitely can be. If a girl isn’t comfortable in a relationship, she may not be as apt to gorge herself during brunch, and may instead order a salad and eat very little of it. I think I speak for all of us when I say that eating a salad for brunch is extremely unsatisfying and just plain wrong. The girl who eats a three egg omelet, four pieces of toast, and a side order of bacon around her significant other is probably in a healthier relationship than the girl who is “still full from dinner last night.”

Brunch by yourself is not as pathetic as it sounds, although I may be slightly biased because I’ve done it before. Stop judging me and hear me out. Sometimes after a particularly social weekend, I just need some alone time. So instead of having brunch with people, I go alone. Admittedly, it’s a bit awkward going to brunch by yourself without bringing something to do. My advice is to pick up the Sunday paper or a book you’ve been dying to read and take it to brunch with you. That way, you’ll have something to do while you’re waiting for the mountain of food you will inevitably order. When else are you going to get to read for pleasure anyway? My most recent brunch book was “The Dinner” by Herman Koch, which was a refreshing read in comparison to my usual literary obligations (my Genetics textbook). Another plus to going to brunch alone is that you don’t have to share your food. So if reading isn’t your thing, at least you don’t have to surrender a single bite of your precious weekly pancakes.

As for where you have Sunday brunch, there are many options both at Harvard and around it. Veritaffles in any of the dining halls never fail to disappoint, although getting to the dining hall right when it opens is absolutely necessary in order to avoid the painfully long line for the waffle stations. If you feel the need to take a break from HUDS or your parents are in town, there are also tons of brunch places in the square, or in Boston. In the square, though on the pricier side, Henrietta’s Table at the Charles Hotel offers a beautiful brunch spread. The Beat Hotel not only has unique offerings and huge portions, but also has live music starting at 10:30am. For greasier, more wallet-friendly options, Zoe’s is great, and if you’re willing to walk about a mile, I highly recommend S&S Deli and Restaurant in Inman Square. They’ve been around since 1919, so clearly they’re doing something right.

I like to view Sunday brunch as the weekend’s last hurrah. No matter where or with whom you decide to have Sunday brunch, as long as you eat large quantities of good food, you’re doing it right. With your taste buds satisfied and your stomach feeling incapable of holding anything more, you will be more than ready to take on your mountain of work and/or recover from last night’s festivities!

Caroline Gentile ’17 (cgentile@college) would love to have brunch for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But not dessert.