Here's a photo of Sunday brunch the way it was intended:
(Photo stolen from these guys*)
Inviting, right? Note the presence of eggs, and juice, coffee, fine linens, preserves, cold butter, leafy greens to laugh about later, and forgiving lighting. Not shown but almost definitely present include attractive, witty conversationalists and a buttload of alcohol.
This is not quite how Sunday brunch goes down in Fooleryland. To wit, my most recent attempt at the Leisure Culture . . .
Sunday morning I woke up at the crack of Forgot-Daylight-Savings-Time-My-Grandmother-Would-Be-Appalled. Pulling on some plaid jammie pants, bright pink socks, a sweatshirt and an orange headband, I headed for the kitchen.
Coffee started, I pulled dry ingredients out of cupboards and prepared my mise en place, which is a snooty way of saying I pushed a bunch of crap aside to make room for biscuit dough. Each child had to cut a few biscuits, of course, so -- let the dogs out -- after making them wash their hands again -- let the dogs back in -- all biscuits were cut and popped into the oven.
Dicing up onions and mincing garlic seemed to take forever -- put Wally out again to stop the barking -- but eventually they were sizzling in olive oil as I chopped last night's potatoes. Beep-beep-beep! Beep-beep-beep! The biscuits were done. Time to -- let Wally in and now Rilo wants out again -- make the girls' Ovaltine. Don't judge me. Six tiny marshmallows in each cup and -- you're judging me, aren't you? -- the milk was almost heated. Is that coffee ready yet?
Into a bowl went the biscuits, wrapped in a linen towel. Girls, please set the table. Girls. Girls. GIRLS!
BING! Coffee's ready . . . thank GAH. Put the Ovaltine and coffee on the table and --
Barking ensued. Lots of barking. Oh hi, Brian! What? You say the cows are out? Wait, lemme grab my boots. And turn off the burner.
Pink fuzzy feet and plaid legs jammed into rubber boots. Looking good, Foolery, looking good. Out the door into a light rain. Of course. The cows, which were not ours, numbered only two. One was wearing a padlocked chain like a necklace. THAT'S gonna be fun for someone to get off of her. Brian and I pushed them across the road to a food source (which they promptly ignored in favor of freedom) while my daughters called the right people.
Remembering my appearance I said a quick thank-you and goodbye to my helpful neighbor and slunk back into the house. Burner: ON. Girls, did you put the butter on the table? Girls? Girls? GIRLS!
Potatoes done, juice poured, dogs crated, it was time to sit down to our feast. "I'm thankful for this nice breakfast, are YOU, Sparky? What else are you thankful for?"
Finishing first, I jumped up to wash dishes, since I had quite a mess to clean up. The girls straggled in with their plates and headed off to their rooms. I listened to NPR in peace.
Until Smedley found the linen towel on the floor under the dining room table. "Mama, why is this on the floor?" she asked, bewildered. "Did you eat all the rest of the biscuits?"
"No, of course I didn't, I --" Oh crap. The dogs. The dogs ate all the biscuits.
"Will it hurt them, Mama?" Smedley asked, terrified that we, as new dog-owners, had just accidentally poisoned our new dogs.
"No, they'll be fine," I answered, not at all sure I wouldn't find piles of, well, let's leave it at piles, around the house over the next few hours. "But I need more coffee."
The clean-up was brutal. As I was finally finishing, Sparky sidled in to check on me. "What's for lunch?" she asked.
I don't think I need to make brunch again for a few more years.
*I originally tried to steal this photo from Mark Pantsari's wonderful blog post "What White Chicks Cherish -- The Unofficial Guide to Things White Girls Officially Love: Sunday Brunch," but lost my nerve and asked him for permission. I think he was sufficiently charmed by my directness that he let me link to him. Really hoping he'll mail me a mimosa. (You HAVE to go read his post, or any of his posts -- they're a scream.)
(Photo stolen from these guys)