Breakfast club: the brunch potluck that will transform your concept of parties

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Hello there, tiny pancakes
Who wants to come over?

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.

Comments on Breakfast club: the brunch potluck that will transform your concept of parties

  1. Can I give a huge shout-out to the awesomeness of brunch? Because it seriously beats the pants off any other meal. Hubs and I love it so much we had a brunch reception for our wedding. Pancakes, mimosas, eggs bennie…what’s not to love?

  2. I sooo love this idea of a lazy day filled with good food and awesome people…it just sucks that I have next to no one to do this with. My long time friends and friendly aquaintances have known, from day one, that when you come to my place I do not “entertain”–my idea of a lazy day with friends is damn near exactly what was described, with a ton of time for whatever to happen however it did, and to roll with it. Their idea of time with friends is always going and doing. Needless to say, this is why most of those friends have become aquaintances.
    But I’ve been seriously contemplating why I haven’t started something like this, esp. now that I have my own place and can do, within reason, what I want in it. It sounds so relaxing! And it’s a nice feeling after being in control of getting things done and working and all that during the week, to have a day where you let shit run its own course.

  3. I love this idea. I accidentally started something similar on Sunday’s with a few of my friends. It started with one friend deciding he was interested in learning yoga and coming over on Sunday’s. Then a friend stayed over one night and joined in and has been coming ever since. After yoga we all rearrange the living room drink coffee or tea and pitch in and make breakfast. It is definitely the highlight of my Sunday.

  4. My husband and I and friends had for a year or so a standing appointment to meet up at a local diner on Sunday mornings for brunch…it’s sort of died down (mostly due to the economy — eating out once a week got expensive, and for those who lost jobs…simply impossible) but we’re moving into our new house this week and I’ve already made it a point to say this is something I want to bring back. First we just have to buy a table that more than three people can fit at….and then, let the brunching begin again.

    It really is a great way to chill out and relax with friends. One of the best, really.

  5. My parents and their friends used to do this when I was a kid. I have very fond memories about every Sunday being shuttled either to someone’s house, or a ton of people showing up at our place. And what was great was everyone was always in charge of one thing. My parents would usually make some egg dish or potato dish, other friends would always bring cinnamon buns, anyother would be in charge of fruit, another in charge of drinks, etc etc etc.

    It was really fun because the kids got to stuff their face, and then run off the energy after together…and the adults got to stuff their face and drink at 11am.

    I want to start doing this! I forgot how fun they were until this post!

  6. This is a great post! This year I was pregnant on my birthday, so the usual boozefest was out. My husband and I decided to throw a brunch potluck party instead. Everyone brought mimosa fixings, yummy food, and their kids, and it was a blast! I swear we had a better turnout than any of our past cocktail parties!

  7. Our group are all soccer fans and when our home team (Chicago Fire) are playing an “early” game at 3:00pm we all show up to tailgate a few hours early and bring brunch stuffs.

    In fact, this weekend will be our first of the season: monkey bread, bagels and cream cheese, other pastries, bacon, pancakes and scrambled eggs on the grill, bloody mary fixings and probably some more lunch-y stuff like brats and burgers! I can’t wait.

  8. OMFG this brings me back to the good old days! Most Sundays, after a crazy night of partying, I would wake up early (because I’m a freak of nature) and make a potato casserole. I still make it, laden with cheese and bites of sausage and eggs, anytime any of my friends request it.

    • YEEESSSS!!!

      Aebleskyvers are my version of brunchy hosting. It was a holiday tradition in my family, that I co-opted for brunch parties. I love to stick cream cheese, jam, morningstar sausage, or tiny pieces of apple in those things. Soooo delicious!
      It usually becomes a kitchen party, because they taste best right off the pan and everyone hangs around so they don’t miss out on each batch.

  9. Our weekly ritual has evolved as our group of friends grew up. Because of our offbeat employment none of us has ever really been “weekend people”, so we have Tuesday nights. What started as “Family Night” (two dollar you-calls at our local shit-hole bar to “Awful Waffle: The movies are awful, the waffles are good” when we stopped getting black out drunk mid week and its current incarnation is “Grilled Cheese Goodness” when we stopped eating boat loads of sugary sweets. The hosts always provide staples (bread and butter for GCG and waffles for AW) and everyone brings some kind of topping to share. It’s cool because it covers everyone’s dietary constraints and gives us all the peace of mind that we will eat at least one legitimate meal this week. It is the equivalent of our Sunday and our Family Night has always been good to stave off the Single kid blues and also to introduce new partners to everyone in a fun non threatening way.

  10. Bloody magnificent idea!
    Yeah, I spun one up here in central OH, and it made for a good Saturday morning for a diverse set of friends to meet, and everyone got along great! That was about a month ago, and another of the group is looking at slapping one together soon. Who knows what may come?

  11. I love this idea – as a matter of fact I’ve been saving recipes on Pinterest for months to psych myself up for the “party-during-the-daytime” shift. Thanks for the extra encouragement!

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