Madeline Frohlich shares how you can achieve your 'brunch high' without breaking your bank account.
Brunch is one of my favourite traditions. Is there a better way to start your day than by rolling out of bed to a flurry of messages urging you to get on down to the café? Perhaps only rolling over to the person next to you in bed and sleepily suggesting they buy you a latte and some avocado toast.
I love everything about brunch. The lax dress standards, the simple joy of your coffee arriving, the likelihood of it curing your hangover. It's just the best.
That said, there are times when brunch feels like too much of a squeeze. I’m not going to pretend that if we all skipped brunch we could cure the ills of capitalism, score a bank loan, and buy a house. That said – we all know the brunch economy is fucked and there are weeks when you need that $20+ you’d usually spend on a coffee, toast and eggs to pay bills (or save for those shoes/that overseas trip/more Friday night cocktails).
I know cafes are often small businesses with huge overheads, and food tastes better when you’ve had the pleasure of someone else cooking for you. I’d also pay a fair amount of money to not have to do the dishes… But surely there’s a way to achieve that 'brunch high' without leaving your home and without spending so much money.
Invest in some sort of contrivance to make decent coffee and you have invested in your future brunches for YEARS. It doesn’t need to be a coffee machine with a milk frothing attachment and temperature control. A French press is fine. Personally, I reach for a stovetop espresso maker. Being able to make a decent cuppa at home not only rewards you with inexpensive and delicious coffee, but it’ll also make your house smell appropriately like aromatic coffee beans, giving you the coffee shop feel from the comfort of your own home.
Additionally, if you crave the healthier high of a fresh juice, do yourself a favour and invest in a juicer which will give you the ability to make carrot-pineapple-apple-beetroot-and-ginger juice in your own kitchen.
I can assume that most Saturdays and/or Sundays I will be brunching or want to be brunching. So it makes sense to stock up on brunch ingredients in advance. No one wants to have to rush to the shops on a Saturday morning – the peak time for supermarket aisles clogged with screaming toddlers. Plan ahead and stock up on bread, eggs, avocado, mushrooms – whatever’s your jam.
At brunch, no one reaches for cereal from the carton, or vegemite toast on wonder white – to get that snazzy brunch feel you need some snazzy ingredients. Pick up some sourdough or rye bread – something that gives you a bit more to chew on. The best part about choosing to brunch at home is the license it gives you over what you eat - and how much. Love fetta on your smashed avo? Pick some up. More of a fried haloumi person? Do that instead. Revel in not having to pay $3 for a side of mushrooms. Want a whole avocado to yourself? It’s still going to be cheaper than eating a few slices of avo at that nice little café down the road.
All the Trimmings
Make sure you leave room on your shopping list for the little things which are really going to make your brunch feel special. A lemon to squeeze on your avocado is essential. Even more so, cracked pepper and fancy salt – you know what I am talking about. Now is not the time for jumbo sized Saxa table salt.
It's a lot easier to live large at your own kitchen table than while perusing a café menu. Having a coffee and a juice makes me feel slightly pampered. Having a breakfast cocktail makes me feel like I am living my most luxurious life. Combining cloudy pear juice and prosecco to make a Bellini’s is my ultimate brunch move. Those who like bloody Mary’s do your thing. And anyone who has invested in a juicer is at liberty to experiment with spiking their kale smoothies however they like. Get creative with it!
No one wants to clean before brunch. For me, coming into a nice clean kitchen (and kitchen table) when I wake up is the decider as to whether I decide to cook brunch at home, or whether I stare mournfully at the dirty pans, decide “fuck it” and walk out the door. If you have housemates who leave their washing in the sink and this is not in your control, I’m sorry. You could try leaving a passive aggressive post-it note? That seems to work sometimes.
Leave huge group brunches for the café, where someone else is catering. Pick one or two of your nearest and dearest to invite to brunch. Suggest the brunch ahead of time and gently ask upfront to split the cost of groceries. Rotate the brunch host as much as possible. Most importantly, everyone should help with the washing up – it’s simple etiquette guys.
Madeline Frohlich has officially reached her mid-twenties and still trying to find the perfect balance between wild hedonism and wholesome domestic life.