Five Dollar Post – Why the Fascination with Brinner?
July 29th, 2011

At lunch yesterday I sat in my company’s cafeteria with my normal dining companions and we got onto the topic of what to have for supper.  (There’s nothing like planning the next meal before you’ve finished the current one…)  One coworker mentioned “brinner” (breakfast for dinner) with the same enthusiasm I’ve heard from lots of other people in the past couple of years.

I piped up and said, “I just don’t get what all the fuss is about brinner.”  My colleague responded, “But, it’s breakfast for dinner!!” as though that explained everything.  I told her that I understood that she was current with some sort of cultural heatwave around eating breakfast for dinner (after all, there was an entire episode of Scrubs dedicated to the fascination with brinner), but that I still didn’t understand why breakfast served in the evening was any more exciting than breakfast served in the morning.

Then it hit me.  I came up with my very own (probably genius!) theory regarding this otherwise inexplicable excitement over an egg served after 10:00am.  I posited that the excitement stems not from breakfast at supper time, but breakfast at all.  No matter how many nutritionists preach the value of starting the day off right – with a full breakfast – far too many people blow it off.  We stir protein powder into a glass of milk and call it a meal.  We eat a Nutrigrain bar in the car on the way to work and think it counts as breakfast.  Or we skip it altogether.  But very few people – or perhaps more accurately stated, very few young working people – eat an actual breakfast every day.

And that is why so many of my contemporaries are drooling over brinner.  If they don’t eat breakfast for dinner, they don’t eat it at all.  Breakfast foods are wonderful.  Eggs, biscuits, smoothies, pancakes, waffles, bacon, and so on are terrific foods.  Forsaking them all for the convenience of a granola bar is a shame.  But I think that may be what has happened here.

I may not eat bacon and eggs every morning, but I do eat a real breakfast every single day.  And if I ever stopped, well, I’d be very cranky for starters, but more importantly, I’d really miss eating breakfast.  Perhaps then the fascination with brinner would resonate with me too.

Because it’s Friday and I’m feeling lighthearted, let’s take a little poll.  Do you eat breakfast every day?  What is your most common breakfast?  I’ll go first. As I mentioned before, I’m a crank if I don’t eat breakfast, so I take it seriously. Most days I make a strawberry-banana smoothie and a piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter.  This week it’s been toasted banana nut bread, an egg over easy, and a small bowl of strawberries.  In the winter I switch to oatmeal and hot chocolate.  Okay, your turn!

10 Responses to “Five Dollar Post – Why the Fascination with Brinner?”

  1. Ana Says:

    I do eat something everyday, I go through phases of eating the same thing for months on end, and then switching. Right now I bring my breakfast to go–3 baby bell cheeses with whole grain unsalted crackers (protein, fat, and carbS!), since I really can’t stomach anything except my coffee until I’ve been up and active for a while. Other times I’ve done toast & PB or cottage cheese with crackers (I like some crunch). I don’t really like sweet stuff for breakfast.
    I love more complicated breakfast foods (omelettes, waffles, potatoes) but those are once-in-a-while weekend treats that just don’t fit into our everyday schedule. We sometimes do frittatas or quiche for dinner, served with a side salad, but I don’t really get excited about eggs, waffles, or pancakes in the evening, it just doesn’t appeal to me. Maybe once I have older kids, it could be a fun change. I think for busy families its also a time/convenience thing—you can whip up scrambled eggs & bacon so quickly and have a hearty, delicious, and novel meal for dinner when you’re rushed.

  2. E Says:

    I’m one of the bad ones who usually makes due with coffee only. If I eat breakfast, I’m often off to a full day of calories as my willpower is zilch when it comes to food; however, every time I visit you and you make not only a tasty but also a visually appetizing breakfast, it makes me wish I’d be better about breakfast. How would IEP feel about having a chubby Big E? Seriously I was raised with a wonderful breakfast every morning (never cold cereal), and I made sure my kids had good breakfasts as long as they lived at home so why did we not continue? I’m guessing the never ending weight infatuation is most of the cause.

  3. Gale Says:

    E – I’m pretty sure that you could turn purple and grow a colony of warts and IEP would still love you more than ice cream, so a little chub would be no cause for concern.

  4. anne Says:

    Oooh fun!! Weekdays it’s some fiber-laden cereal with fresh fruit and possibly plain yogurt on top. And coffee. On weekends I get crazy and have eggs and toast and fruit. If we’ve got english muffins around, I like them with peanut butter. I eat breakfast EVERY DAY, and my Mom (our Mom) thinks it’s odd how I can eat immediately after waking up. And breakfast is my favorite meal to go out for, so the hubby and I do that almost every weekend. And, for the record, I love brinner, but my favorite meal is brunch.

  5. Laura H. Says:

    I rarely eat breakfast during the week (except I did eat breakfast everyday during my pregnancies including drinking milk…weird because non-pregnant me hates milk). If I do eat breakfast during the week, it’s just a banana or some oatmeal. I drink 1-2 cups of coffee per day though. We usually have a big breakfast on Saturdays – eggs, toast, fruit, bacon. Sundays end up being coffee followed later by a donut during fellowship hour at church.

    I HEART brinner! I chalk up my love to my lack of daily breakfast, but also because sometimes (the day before the weekly grocery trip, or especially if busyness has caused the weekly grocery trip to be postponed a day or two) we don’t have many dinner options left in the fridge (or I forgot to defrost something from the deep freeze). But we nearly always have the makings for brinner!

    I have mom-envy that your mother cooked a hot breakfast for your family every morning and that you all sat down and ate it together! My favorite part of the day is dinner at the dinner table with my family…so if I could replicate that in the mornings, wow! That would be awesome. I feel like I need 26 hours in the day to fit it all in!!!

  6. Gale Says:

    Anne – I’m with you on eating as soon as I get up. I usually eat within 30 minutes and if I have to go longer than that, I definitely need a snack. Pregnancy has been fun for my breakfasting ways too, because I eat breakfast around 6:30 and then usually have second breakfast around 9:00. What can I say, when the baby’s hungry I have to eat!

    Laura H – E is actually GAP’s mom, not mine, although my mom fixed breakfast every morning too, which we always ate as a family. As a working mom with morning dog-walking duties (we do two miles every morning, so it takes some time) I don’t manage to get a seated breakfast together. We do eat breakfast together now, although we are usually joined by Jon Stewart and the previous night’s Daily Show. At some point (most likely after we adopt) I will stay home full time, and I envision our breakfast routine becoming a bit more structured at that point.

  7. BigLittleWolf Says:

    What can I say? I just can’t do “breakfast” at breakfast time. Coffee. More coffee. Two hours later, I’m fine with something light like wheat toast. I love breakfast for lunch, or breakfast for dinner.

    And I love having lunch be the main meal. Served with heapings of conversation. (Wrong country for that, I know.)


  8. Cathy Says:

    I’m a little late chiming in here but I almost always eat breakfast, usually it’s cereal or oatmeal. I allow myself a bagel once a week (too many carbs!) But I think brinner is appealing and exciting because it’s rebellious. Imagine – you are doing something out of the norm – breakfast is supposed to be at breakfast time, not at night. I often think of brinner as pancakes and french toast – sweet items – which is appealing because you’re taking a break from all those veggies you’re supposed to be packing in.

    I am in agreement with BLW too – lunch as the main meal with something light at dinner is perfect for me.

  9. Kathryn at Good Life Road Says:

    This is making me smile here for a few reasons. One, I want to have breakfast at your house. Sounds yummy, healthy and well balanced. 2nd I’m thinking…isn’t she pregnant? When I was pregnant I ate breakfast three times a day, and then lunch 3x, and then…you get the picture.

    What do I eat for breakfast most mornings? Ok it’s weird. But it works. A Trader Joes frozen burrito(usually chicken verde flavor). Hey it tides me over until lunch.

  10. Gale Says:

    Kathryn – Yes, pregnant indeed. During the first trimester I had a smoothie first thing every morning, and then a ham, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich and glass of OJ in the car on the way to work. In the second trimester I dialed it back to the smoothie first, and then whole wheat toast with peanut butter and a glass of milk on the way to work. Only in the past three weeks or so have I been able to get by with one breakfast (although I do usually have either an apple or a few almonds mid-morning). So don’t think I’ve been depriving myself too much; second breakfast is one of the true joys of pregnancy! As for your burrito – I’m totally on board. I think it sounds tasty. And honestly, it’s probably better for you (more protein, less sugar) than many of the other on-the-go alternatives.