No one knows when the word “brunch,” that delightful contraction of breakfast and lunch, was officially coined. But the meal itself, a celebratory combination of both, began in 1884 New Orleans, when visitors coming to the Cotton Centennial Exposition discovered Begue’s. Begue’s served only one meal a day, at 11 a.m., when the city’s hungry dock and French Market workers, at work since dawn, quit for the day. The Exposition tourists took to Begue’s elaborate, multi-course breakfast for the same reasons we love brunch today: nothing says “laid-back” or “vacation” like a lazily late breakfast, with lush, out-of-the-ordinary food.
Mix and match these dishes to suit your personal taste and style.
—Crescent Dragonwagon, a food writer in Saxton’s River, Vt.