As you do on vacation, I threw my daily routine to the wind this last month while tromping around in France. I woke up when I wanted, had wine with lunch and ate Spanish tortillas (basically a fancy omelet) and French crepes for dinner. Which got me thinking about brinner—the cultural phenomenon that is quite simply eating breakfast for dinner.
Eating scrambled eggs and bacon at supper used to be today’s equivalent to sad desk lunch between writing emails. You whipped something up quickly for super cheap and felt slightly guilty about it. But recently something changed. It became rebellious, different, cool even—and claimed the name brinner (breakfast + dinner) in the Urban Dictionary.
Exploring this trend further, I came across an article by Chef Seamus Mullen in Bon Appetit in which he argues that eating breakfast for dinner is actually good for you. Here’s where my experience and his story collide.
Breaking from routine – and eating breakfast for dinner
When you’re on vacation, you say “goodbye” to your daily routine and “hello” to the life portion in work-life balance. Usually, you’re happier, more active, arguably healthier and more open to trying new things.
Chef Seamus Mullen explains that brinner is an easy way to break from your regular schedule. To rebel, to some mild and non-threatening extent. In other words, you don’t need an expensive vacation to shake things up a bit (but it sure is nice).
Is this why brinner was the breakaway trend last year? According to an article by My Recipes, the cultural phenomenon could only occur because two things are true of breakfast. One, “breakfast foods” are considerably different than “dinner foods” and, two, eating breakfast at dinner is a relatively novel idea.
Typically, people crave certain foods at certain times of the day. A study for the European Journal of Social Psychology by Shelley Aikman and Stephen Crites found that “time-typicality” played an important role in influencing our attitudes toward certain foods. Ie., breakfast foods in the morning and dinner foods at night. Anything other than that went against what we grew up with or considered “normal.”
Even as I ate the Spanish tortillas and French crepes as tapas or at dinner,—as both of these cultures typically do—I felt like I was eating a meal better suited for the morning. But that’s the whole point. Same with eating cheese as a dessert, but we’ll leave that for now. So why choose between sweet or savory, when you can have both on the same day? That’s what’s so great about this trend: having the freedom of choice.
Top breakfast for dinner meal ideas
To be fair, the top brinner meal ideas are typically the heartier, more savory brunch menu items than the sweet, small and sometimes meek breakfast items. We’re not talking about yogurt, fruit and granola, although 24hr cereal bars and biscuit shops are popping up in many big cities.
Over the last year or so of trend watching the breakfast for dinner phenomenon, a few meal ideas have risen like cream to the top. They are:
- Chicken and waffles
- Savory pancakes
- Classic bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns—or gourmet sausages and eggs
- Crepes—sweet or savory, plain or packed with ingredients
- Basically, any dish topped with eggs, such as breakfast pizza with eggs and tater tots, chicken hash with eggs, shakshuka (baked tomato, cheese & poached eggs), spinach and feta baked eggs
- Quiches and tarts
- French toast, especially when fancy breads are involved
- Savory omelets, frittatas, or Spanish tortillas
- Breakfast burritos
- Benny’s with ham and eggs, smoked salmon and eggs, or even benny burgers
- Gourmet breakfast sandwiches
- Vegetarian huevos rancheros with salsa, sour cream and avocado
- Chili, cornbread, and eggs
I could go on, but it’s making me hungry. Looking for some options for your next office brinner? Use our “dietary and cuisine” filters to find breakfast options in your city.