Though the meal first appeared in America at Begue’s, a restaurant in New Orleans, in the late 1890s, according to Ternikar the meal is truly a global event served in Germany, Turkey, India, and China, and often has an 'anything goes' approach to menus for an event that’s more about kinship and conversation than a rigid meal. Ternikar . . . include[s] a handful of recipes. . . .She prefers to focus on the social aspect of the meal as opposed to defining the classic brunch. It’s an admirable approach. . . .The result is a book best consumed à la carte.
— Publishers Weekly
As Ternikar points out, what distinguishes breakfast from brunch is that breakfast inaugurates a workday, but brunch celebrates the weekend. Chinese enjoyed morning dim sum for centuries, but brunch appears to have arisen in England at the end of the nineteenth century as an outgrowth of hearty late breakfasts offered to hunters returning from an early morning shoot. The novel meal spread quickly to America and became a New Orleans tradition. New York caught on to the practice, and it was at the Waldorf Hotel (or Delmonico’s) where eggs Benedict, now the iconic brunch dish, first appeared. Post-Prohibition Americans typically eschewed daytime drinking until they developed a thirst for now-classic brunch cocktails on the order of the mimosa and the Bloody Mary. Home brunches caught on in the 1930s as a way for tyro cooks to entertain without the fuss of preparing guests a full dinner. Friday brunch has lately invaded upscale Muslim communities.
If you love brunch like Ternikar does, you'll find the book is easy to digest and full of flavorful morsels. It's not dry or brittle (or overly academic).
— The Post-Standard/Stars
Brunch: A History is another interesting text in The Meal Series in which author Farha Ternikar addresses a meal of more recent history than breakfast, lunch, or supper. Ternikar has provided a descriptive analysis of brunch.... Brunch: A History is a well-researched and fascinating study about a meal that has received, up until now, very little attention. Ternikar has integrated black and white photographs of brunch dishes throughout her text, and she has provided well-organized endnotes, an index and a substantial bibliography. I especially applaud Ternikar’s inclusion of several wonderful brunch recipes, which begs the question: what’s the good of a food study without a few recipes?
— Digest: A Journal of Foodways & Culture
This engaging, informative book traces the history of brunch from its origins as a hunt breakfast for the British elite to the hipster meal par excellence satirized in the television program Portlandia. But the author’s scope extends beyond the Anglo-American world to cover brunch in Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East. Her impressive array of research sources includes magazines, cookbooks, movies, music, novels (including ‘chick lit’ and social media) which make for a delightful account of the meal that has been called one of life’s great pleasures.
— Colleen Taylor Sen, food writer and historian; coauthor/cowriter of Street Food Around the World: An Encyclopedia of Food and Culture, Food Culture in India and Curry: A Global History
Why we eat what we eat when we eat are questions that are not always tackled together and rarely is the last one the focal point. In her well-researched and innovative history of brunch, Farha Bano Ternikar leads us through a fascinating culinary journey that ripples out globally over the span of more than a century. When probed through a variety of cultural, social and temporal prisms, the foods and reasons for selecting them become dislodged from our mundane menus to become symbolic markers of an engrossing, wider narrative.
— George Solt, assistant professor of History, New York University
What meal is more luxurious than brunch? Sleep in on your days off. Dine on traditional Eggs Benedict, omelets, or just plain toasted bagels with a smear. Sip a Bloody Mary or Mimosa. Chat leisurely with family and friends. Slowly read the newspaper. Don’t want to read about war, corruption or mayhem? No problem: Pick up Farha Ternikar’s Brunch: A History— it is a well-documented work that tells the engrossing story of how this hybrid meal originated, developed and globalized. It is also an enjoyable read filled with delightful tidbits, but readers should be forewarned that they may suffer cravings for cronuts, bangers and mash, hand-crafted rotis, gluten free quiche, organic waffles, almond croissants, and other brunch delicacies.
— Andrew F. Smith, culinary historian
Brunch turns out to be a great story, intricate and full of surprises. The book takes us out for a rich meal in a fine restaurant, and also into the intimate ritual of the family at home. Like the meal itself, Brunch is an eclectic and flexible mix, relating the history of many things today taken for granted.
— Richard Wilk, distinguished professor emeritus, Indiana University
After the hour-long wait for the perfect Eggs Benedict, read Brunch. Ternikar's fascinating book shows us how the world's newest mealtime spread across the globe, from Emily Post at Delmonico's to Dubai. Beyond comfort foods and weekend indulgence lies a powerful history of class, colonialism, family and home.
— Daniel Bender, professor and Canada Research Chair in Cultural History, University of Toronto, Digital Evidence Group
From the breathless enthusiasm of magazine writers and style editors to the sardonic insults of popular television programs that mock hipster pretensions, brunch, that quintessentially American meal, has always evoked strong feelings. Tracing the history of brunch from its putative origins in English hunt breakfasts, Farha Ternikar has produced a highly readable and engaging account of brunch and its global transformations. A meal of the urban middle and upper classes, brunch is often associated with decadence and leisure, and has come to be the meal of choice for recently-invented holidays such as Mother’s Day. From a twentieth-century meal linked to genteel entertaining and relaxed weekend consumption, the cosmopolitan appropriation of brunch in the twenty-first century takes on diverse global forms such as the famously lavish brunches of Dubai, sushi brunches in Mumbai, and even 'le brunch’ in Paris. Food practices are always inflected by questions of gender, class, and power; Brunch provides compelling examples of that nexus.
— Kathleen D. Morrison, University of Chicago
Farha Ternikar beautifully details everything you ever wanted to know about brunch, from origins to adaptations, music to television, demonstrating how, despite global changes in our lives, the form remains a significant way to mark social and edible moments.
— Alice Julier, director of Food Studies, Chatham University