May 16, 2010

You’re invited to vintage Sunday brunch

There’s an inherent, comforting beauty to Sunday mornings, tied as they are to images and memories of serenity, relaxation, and personal reflection. Perhaps no other day of the week is so ideally suited to a large, leisurely consumed meal than Sunday, which explains why brunch – a mash-up of both breakfast and lunch – has long gone hand-in-hand with the seventh day.

Having been unable to add a new edition of either Wonderful Wednesday Recipes or Saturday Snapshots this week, I thought it would be oodles of fun to merge elements of both of those posts into one, and invite you all to a marvellous Sunday brunch!

Unfortunately, it’s not possible for you to pop over to my home for a tasty meal, but we are able to gather together here and enjoy an imaginary brunch, comprised of vintage images of some of the most iconic foods and dishes one might have found at a good sized brunch spread during the mid-twentieth century.

Whether you’re in the mood for simple fare like juice and eggs, or your taste buds are yearning for something more elaborate, this spread is sure to satisfy one and all alike.

Please, pull up a chair, let the week’s worries disappear from your mind for a while, and nosh with me on a scrumptious feast of vintage brunch foods.

♥ ♥ ♥

{Before finalizing the menu for our delightful brunch (were it a being held as a "real world" event), I would have turned to engaging vintage recipe sources, such as this 1936 copy of Recipe of the Month Magazine, with its immensely cheerful breakfast bedecked cover.}

{What respectable brunch table would be even remotely complete without a freshly squeezed (or stirred, should the OJ be of the frozen variety, such as the Florida juice being promoted in this 1956 ad) pitcher of vitamin C loaded orange juice?}

{Something about the classic childhood fairytale of Jack and the Beanstalk portrayed in this charming 1950s ad (where it’s now morphed into Jack and the Grapevine) made me smile, and thus Welch’s grape juice was added to our selection of brunch beverages.}

{Many vintage cookbooks and magazines I’ve read were super keen on featuring tomato juice as part of one’s breakfast menu, and really, why not? It can be served hot, cold or at room temperature, pairs well with everything from hash brown potatoes to scrambled eggs, and is one of the lowest calorie juices around.}

{While there will, of course, be plenty of fresh milk (and cream) on hand (delivered via the milkman, naturally), what vintage meal would be complete without Carnation evaporated milk, either as a drink or used in one of our yummy recipes? (One can’t but wonder if this shot of a young fellow with milk on his upper lip constitutes the original “Got Milk” ad? ;D}

{For those who prefer a warm beverage before, during, or after their meal, a lovely selection of teas will be available, which you’re entirely welcome to enjoy al fresco, as the fine folks in this beautiful vintage King Cole Tea ad were doing.}

{If you’re still semi-asleep until your first sip of java, fear not, our brunch includes this almost whimsically named brand of coffee (Nob Hill), to help perk you right up!}

{This playful vintage French ad expresses a concept that was often used in culinary literature of the time: grapefruit was the answer for those who pondered how to stay both trim and full at the same time. However, you certainly don’t have to be counting every last calorie to enjoy one of the most classic breakfast fruits of all time – complete with an adorable maraschino cherry on top.}

{Dainty scopes of mint ice cream sit atop the fancy fruit salads on today’s menu, for a meal as a special as brunch definitely deserves to include a dessert treat to help liven up a commonplace dish like fruit salad.}

{From pancakes to waffles, drizzled over oatmeal or used a descendant touch on a bacon sandwich (as in this ad), a large bottle or two of maple syrup is a must at the breakfast – or bunch - table.}

{Light and fluffy baking powder biscuits (which we always fondly called “cloud biscuits” when I was growing up) are often a cornerstone of brunch. They pair perfectly with syrup, jam, marmalade and preserves, or alternatively, can be used to help mop up the sauce or juices from other dishes (they’re also terrific paired with gravy, if you’re in the mood for some Southern inspired cooking).}

{That great new invention everyone keeps coming other innovations to will certainly be present at our AM smorgasbord. We’ll put sliced bread to use as both regular and French toast alike, as well perhaps as some lovely little finger sandwiches for those who are craving lunchtime foods.}

{One of my favourite breakfast staples has to be jam, and while there’s no topping homemade varieties, store bought jams, jellies and preserves, such as these from A&P, are certainly a wonderful sweet treat to serve with any brunch.}

{Two fantastic breakfast foods team up in this cheerful 1950s ad for Py-O-My products, which featured mixes for blueberry muffins and coffee cake (yum and double yum!).}

{I’ve always been a big time cereal fan, and used to delight at the rare opportunity, when as a youngster, a package of assorted breakfast cereals would appear at our table. For those guests who also love to select from an array, we’ll definitely have a classic mix of cereals in adorable individual portion sized boxes, such as these from Post.}

{Sweet, juicy, and versatile, apple sauce is a marvellous invention and certainly one of my favourite ways to enjoy fruit. Here it pairs up with pancakes, strawberries and breakfast sausages, three other foods that will certainly be at our brunch buffet.}

{There’s little denying the shortening was used somewhat rather more prolifically during the mid-twentieth century than it is today, there’s also no skirting the fact that it does make for a wonderful cooking fat when you want to whip up a homemade batch of doughnuts, such as these golden little bundles of doughy goodness.}

{Long before Spam was the word given to the online equivalent of junk mail, it was (and still is) a popular brand of canned meat, which could be put to good use at any meal of the day – including brunch. In this 1940s ad its paired with waffles oozing with maple syrup and a generous sized pat of butter, for a meal that delivers both salty and sweet tastes to anyone partaking of it.}

{Rich and creamy, filling and utterly delicious, when done just right, few brunch dishes can top a plate of eggs Benedict, with their English muffin bottom, warm poached egg centre, and coat of pale sunshine yellow hollandaise sauce.}

{Last but certainly not least, this image shows a sample of just some of the dishes (including baked apples) that have helped to make our vintage brunch such a roaring success, laid out prettily on a turquoise table with darling pink dishware.}

{All images above are from Flickr. To learn more about a specific image, please click on it to be taken to its respective Flickr page.}

♥ ♥ ♥

Ohhh, I’m so stuffed, I don’t think I’ll be able to eat until next Sunday! Brunch has always been a favourite meal of mine, even more so from the perspective of cook (than guest), for it gives me the perfect excuse to combine a myriad of different dishes into one meal. It also allows me to use a tad more cream, a pinch of vanilla sugar, the choicest berries – anything that’s a little opulent and entirely delicious, in the name of "we don’t do this every day" style cooking.

What draws you to brunch? Are you a fan or cooking or eating it (or both)? Do you have any treasured recipes that have become your signature brunch dishes?

While I don’t get to prepare a full brunch spread all that often, when I do I always love to surround myself with the foods and people who bring me the most joy, and that, dearest friends, most certainly includes all of you. Which is entirely why I wanted to invite you to share a leisurely (imaginary) meal with me on this crisp, gorgeously sunny May morning. I hope you had a wonderful time, I know I can hardly wait to do it again sometime! :)


  1. Jessica you are adorable!

    I miss the smell of Mom cooking Dad bacon and eggs in the mornings, but it's still in my memory.

    Wonderful photo reminders of a happier time!

  2. Fabulous post! Hope you had a wonderful weekend.

    Best Wishes,

  3. most ADORABLE post! love love love it! :)

  4. This takes me back to my visit's with my grandmother and she would always make homemade biscuits, gravy, eggs, bacon and grits. God, that was the best. This was wonderful, thanks for sharing.

  5. What a wonderful post! I had a great time at your "brunch". I especially am in love with that last photo. And, yes, tomato juice is a staple. I have a huge jug in my fridge right now for retro dieting purposes!

  6. My Granddad made the best breakfasts for my brother and I. They always included his crispy shredded potatoes. I can almost smell them cooking. Those are some great ads.

  7. Mmmm, yes i would happily join you for brunch! Although hold back on the tomato juice as i hate that stuff! You are making me very hungry looking at all these ads! xx

  8. Hello. I hope this finds you doing well. I've been on a blogging hiatus since the beginning of the year, so it's been quite some time since I've been around to visit some blogs. I'm back from my break now. I wanted to make sure to visit your blog. I enjoyed checking out the latest posts on your blog. Great job. I'm back blogging now myself. I hope you'll take a look at what I'm doing. Thanks. Take care. Have a great week.

  9. My husband and I have started a new tradition recently of a pancake and egg breakfast on Sunday mornings (normally we just "do our own thing" for breakfast) and it's something I've come to look forward to (despite the extra work, hehehe). Love all the photos!

  10. that's wonderful picture