In 2000, Andreas and I abandoned our city life to live in the outskirts of Olympia, WA, a forested college town about an hour south of Seattle. He was finishing college, and I was working from home as a freelance writer and editor. Our weekends went from all-night parties/recovery to a much quieter, rural existence.
Naturally, we got a little bored, especially as winter settled in and the Northwest descended into its annual rainy hibernation mode. So we scraped together the few friends-of-friends we knew in Olympia and started organizing this brunch potluck every Sunday called Breakfast Club.
Here’s how it worked:
Whoever was hosting would provide copious amounts of caffeine, and prepare some sort of easy savory scramble — a potato/veggie/tofu blend for the vegans, maybe a massive cheesy egg scramble for the others. If they wanted to make pancakes or french toast, more power to ’em — but the key was warm, protein-rich, and easy.
The other four or five participants would bring “grab it on your way over” stuff like donuts, fruit, yogurt, pastries from the bakery, and mimosa makings. Of course people could get fancy if they wanted to, but the goal was to make it easy to swing by a bakery and grab cinnamon rolls.
The host’s warm protein-rich meal grounded the food spread, taking care of the savory end of the spectrum. The guest’s piles of baked goods and fruit took care of everyone’s sweet tooth and ongoing snacking needs. Then it was just a question of double-fisting beverages: french press coffee in one hand, a mimosa in the other.
Bellies full, we’d refill our glasses and slump down on the couch to watch the movie equivalent of comfort food. An ’80s comedy, a romcom we all knew would end in a rush to the airport for a kiss, something brainless and reassuring. Something that could be snarked at and talked over, or even fallen asleep to. Our single friends loved it, one commenting that Sundays were her “lonely day,” and spending it curled up on the couch with a pile of sweet people was a great way to stave off the Sunday afternoon existential malaise.
Friends, food, mimosas, a movie … next thing you know it’s 5pm, everyone had a gentle hangover, and it was time to go home and putter around a bit before going to bed. Now THAT’S how to enjoy a rainy weekend day. As the weather improved, instead of watching movies, we’d move out to the backyard to digest our food like vitamin-D-starved slugs glistening in the sun.
That was 10 years ago, but we still do a variation of Breakfast Club, only now it’s pancake-focused. (I got this cast iron griddle last year and have been obsessed with pancakes ever since.) Every Saturday, I strap on my apron and cook my one meal of the week: a huge mess of thin Swedish pancakes that I serve with a spread of toppings that could rival any Taco Night: syrup, yogurt, berries, sweet cream, peanut butter, jam. Our guests bring bacon and mimosas, and Tavi impresses everyone with his INSANE powers of pancake inhalation.
Homies, I highly, highly recommend you consider the concept of a brunch potluck. As someone who came of age between the hours of 11pm and 5am, reveling in nightlife and days wasted to cracked-out hangovers, it was a weird shift to me to start socializing during the day. You mean … you have a party in the morning!? A party where there might be imbibements, but the point is NOT to get so wasted that you pass out at the end? A party where you’re not shouting over music, but can… talk? Wait, WHAT!?
Yes. Yes to all these things. Yes to seeing your friends in the light of day, yes to talking, yes to sharing food that’s easy (just grab donuts on your way over! No big deal!), yes to not passing out at the end.
Breakfast Club: it’s what you’re doing this weekend. (And then you’re posting pictures to Flickr and sharing your recipes.)
Updated to add: ARIEL’S PANCAKE RECIPE
These are thin, and more on the swedish-y side of the pancake spectrum
1 1/3 cup milk
2/3 cup white flour
3 tablespoons butter
- In a blender on low speed, beat eggs & 1/3 cup milk
- Add flour all at once
- Add remaining milk
- Melt butter in microwave until liquid
- Pour into blender slowly
- Cook on griddle immediately. Do not grease pan. Sacrifice the first pancake to butter the pan.
Makes 3 servings. We like to slather ours with warmed jam, peanut butter, syrup, and yogurt.