A Love Letter to Brunch (and the Fluffiest, Shrubbiest Pancakes of All Time)
I love brunch. I mean, I really, really love brunch. Where to even begin? It’s not the hot coffee, hash browns, breakfast pastries, or even the bottomless mimosas. It’s the feeling that there is nowhere else to be and nothing else to do. It’s sharing food with loved ones, lingering over a meal as mugs or glasses are refilled and the sounds of animated conversation mingle with the clinking of forks and knives. Nothing feels more like a celebration of the little moments than brunch.
I want to give the person who invented brunch a medal. So let’s talk for a second about Guy Beringer, a British foodie who coined the word and concept of ‘brunch’ in a passionate letter to the editor in 1895. “The arguments in favour of Brunch are incontestable. In the first place, it renders early rising not only unnecessary but ridiculous. You are therefore able to prolong your Saturday nights. To a certain extent I am pleading for Brunch from selfish motives. Brunch is cheerful, sociable, and inciting. It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper; it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow-beings. It sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”
Thank goodness Guy’s idea caught on. More than 100 years after the invention of brunch, and feeling the need to sweep away the worries and cobwebs of my own long week, I called up some friends and told them to come over Sunday morning. They brought friends, boyfriends, mothers, brothers, and even a good-natured pup. We put on Jack Johnson’s great brunch tune “Banana Pancakes” and nibbled on fresh fruit as I heated up the stove. I had taken on the task of making pancakes for the whole crew, since it’s the one food that everyone can agree on. Fun to flip, easily customizable, and seriously delicious - there’s a reason pancakes are universally beloved.
But some of this particular crowd was heading out for a hiking adventure later in the day, so they’re going to want pancakes that won’t leave them needing an afternoon-long nap. That’s when I decided to break out my secret ingredient - the key to flavorful, fluffy pancakes and a healthy dose of digestive goodness - Shrub Farm's Blueberry and Lemon Shrub! The apple cider vinegar in the shrub, combined with milk, creates a buttermilk that makes the pillowiest pancakes I’ve ever seen.
When the final flapjack was flipped, we sat down around the table and I took a moment to enjoy the scene before me. There we all were: a big family, some related by blood and some by love, just taking the time to laugh, cook, and enjoy each other’s company. Life goes by so fast sometimes, it’s hard to carve out moments like this to celebrate good food and good people. But it’s totally worth it.
Celebrate the little things with these healthy pancakes:
3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp. shrub (try Blueberry and Lemon)
2 tbsp. melted butter
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Combine milk and shrub. Let stand for 5 minutes to thicken. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add egg and butter to the milk and shrub and whisk. Pour the wet mixture into the flour ingredients and mix until you reach a lumpy consistency - do not overmix! Leave it for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, mix again until big lumps or chunks are gone. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and coat with butter. Drop spoonfuls of batter onto skillet, and cook until dark golden brown on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until golden on the other side.
Drizzle with as much maple syrup and shrub as your heart desires, and top with fresh fruit.