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How to “Brunch” Together…Apart

Let’s play word association! Some words have the power to bring a vision to mind, others a more visceral reaction. Some words have the power to do both.

I’m sure you’re thinking I’m going to say a word that’s really deep, but today’s word is just a regular word you might hear by chance, especially this time of year. It makes me feel happy, creative and inspired. The word is Brunch. Makes you smile, right?

Just by saying the word, Brunch, brings my head and heart together. My mouth starts watering and I start thinking of all the components of a great brunch. I’m envisioning the food, atmosphere, attendees and even the flowers and tablecloths. I’m already in planning mode!

Brunch is one of those meals that is meant to bring people together. It’s a gathering as much as a meal. Right now, gathering is a bit more challenging, but I have ideas about how to mix social distancing and stay at home edicts with sharing brunch. Mother’s Day is a perfect challenge to see if we can create a fun, yummy and connected event.

My family is probably considered average in size and yet when I count up the number of locations from which we will have to connect to celebrate Mother’s Day, it ends up being nine different locations! Brunch in my family was considered nice, but in my husband’s family, it’s an art form. Everyone has their favorite dish and the table is groaning with the selection of delectable food choices. Just as they love the good food, they love getting together to catch up, tease each other and hang out. My sister-in-law is a master at putting it all together, so I called her up to figure out what we should do this year.

Rather than skip this year’s brunch, we want to make sure we still celebrate…just not together…but together. Needless to say, the whole family is on board!

Our ideas to make brunch special…but apart:

Food:

What do you normally serve at brunch? My brother-in-laws always insist on bringing sausages from their favorite butcher to cook on the grill.

  1. Make a list of what you like to serve normally.
  2. Assign each household one of these items. (I assigned myself fruit salad and my brother wants to cook a ham.) This way we will share each favorite dish vicariously.
  3. Pick a recipe that every household will commit to making. We thought the easiest and most requested was an egg casserole. This way we will all be enjoying at least one dish together…remotely.
  4. Anyone can make other dishes of their choice, but at a minimum, they will be making the egg casserole and their assigned dish.

Presentation:

Setting the mood is as important to me as the food. Brunch is not just any meal, so using the “good stuff” is a lovely touch.

  1. Set the table with a nice tablecloth and napkins that Mom would appreciate.
  2. Use the good china and nice silverware.
  3. Make a centerpiece of found items. If you don’t have fresh flowers consider cutting a variety of greens and arranging in a vase. Tie a ribbon around the vase for added color. If you don’t have access to plant material, make paper flowers. I remember making them for my mom when I was little and my children made them for me. They are a pretty and nostalgic touch. Here are links for easy-to-make flowers for the younger set and a more advanced tutorial for those with greater crafting skills than me!
  4. Dress up. Get out of the athleisure wear and put on something nice. We all feel better when we dress better.

Conversation:

There is no lack of banter with our family, and even on our Zoom meetings, we are all talking at the same time! My sister-in-law and I thought it might be a good idea to set a few topics, in advance, to help focus the conversations.

  1. Describe the recipes they chose to make and why. I’ll make this easy Cinnamon Monkey Bread ’cause I only make it for special occasions. (And I have a sweet tooth!)
  2. Tell a favorite family memory. Kids who hear family stories are more resilient, an important trait in these tenuous times.
  3. Name a favorite meal that Mom makes. My mother-in-law had many wonderful traits, but cooking wasn’t one of them so there are lots of hilarious stories of what she couldn’t make. However, I learned to make our family’s favorite hot milk cake from her.
  4. Describe a trait of Mom’s that you most value. She’ll appreciate hearing your love.

Try One of These Favorite Brunch Recipes!

Find more yummy brunch recipes in your DinnerTime Recipe Box.

A delicious accompaniment for any meal.

Savory and sweet with just the right amount of kick!

A tasty and nutritious salad that is sure to please Mom!