Bagels with cream cheese, smoked salmon, scallions, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
I owe a special thanks to Rosa for thinking this up. I didn’t realize until I saw her meme that brunch has gotten away from me. The whole feel of brunch has changed greatly over the years. At first it used to be wishful thinking, then it became a mad competition to passive aggressively claim space, a wish finally fulfilled, and until recently something badly neglected.
Back in the day I was lonely, single, and stuck in a dead end Starbucks job. I somehow always got saddled with the Sunday opening shift which killed any possibility of going out on Saturday nights. The last ‘bucks I worked in had a large seating area and was right on the waterfront of a tight knit neighborhood so there was plenty of traffic on weekend mornings. I would wistfully watch all the lovers come in for a late morning breakfast, reading their 3-foot thick newspapers, doing crossword puzzles, laughing, loving, drinking coffee with sweet pastries, making eyes at each other, playing footsie under the tables, and all the other little things that people do when they have time to stop and appreciate each other.
When I met Q and before we lived together, we would try to have long leisurely Sunday brunches together at our respective apartments. For about a year I lived in a 2 bedroom house with a……for etiquette’s sake say it rhymes with nucking fasshole. Dude’s long term girlfriend of 8 years had up and dumped him, leaving a financial gap rent-wise so he put the spare room up for grabs and looked for a roommate to help him split the monthly costs. It never occurred to him that this new roommate would want to do such outlandish things like, oh I don’t know use the kitchen at least once a day, twice on weekends, and generally not be expected to hide in her bedroom when he had company over EACH AND EVERY NIGHT. He usually had some ska….er, “friend” stay the night who he would impress with dinner and breakfast. When I would venture out to get food (how inconsiderate of me to have to appear in the kitchen at least once an evening and spoil his meal) I would get the whole “we’re trying to eat, wait for your turn” song and dance. On top of that BS, his visitors would constantly help themselves to the food that I had in the fridge. Back then I had a $30/week grocery budget so it got really ugly when I had to resort to labeling my food.
Q was over only a fraction of the time that Dude’s little wh…..um, friends were over. And that was the only time he didn’t try to shove me out of the kitchen/bathroom/living room/porch/laundry area, when Q was present. The only time that we could have brunch together were Sunday mornings. Dude usually started on his Sunday brunch at 10am which meant that if Q and I wanted to eat, I had to be ready to go before then. It soon started out as 9:30am to beat him. He got wise and started at 9am. So I got up earlier at 8:30am. It stopped at 8am, because it began to defeat the purpose of brunch. To thwart Dude’s efforts and draw out our time together (and just to piss the bastard off more), we started playing Mancala and chess games during the meal. In the end we won, Dude started taking his one night stands out to brunch while Q and I stayed in.
When we finally moved in together, Sunday brunch became a monster affair of scrambled eggs, crepes, waffles, deep fried French toast, homemade hash, and every class of bacon under the sun. Since then and now, life really picked up for us both. I’ve been promoted several times to my current position and Q went back to school (and graduated as valedictorian, booyah!). Increased busyness or maybe because we now see each other every morning and not just Sundays, brunch somehow dissipated to a quick bagel and coffee before shoving us out the door for our usual errands.
But for the last couple of weekends we’ve restarted the ritual. On the way home from the gym I’ve been stopping by the store for something special like the smoked salmon and all the trimmings shown above or beer for Welsh rarebit (to be shown at another date). We’ve unearthed the Mancala board and restarted that too.
I must say, it is a huge step up to be able to play in peace and not have a nucking fasshole hovering around. I hope this tradition stays and doesn’t disappear again.