Brunch was invented in 1540 by a painfully stout, gout-ridden King Henry VIII. Virtually immobilized by a gangrenous leg wound, the King was unable to hunt or joust or stand for longer than 10 minutes, and so he devised a new royal pastime: constant eating. The legend goes that on one dreary day in March of 1540, King Henry had just finished his breakfast of three dozen goose eggs, 4 loaves of crusty bread, and a stuffed black swan when he observed: "It is not the time for lunch, yet we want another meal. Would that there were an edible bridge between the breaking of the fast and lunch…perhaps a new meal called…Brunch! We decree it to be so!" Then Henry concluded his speech the way he always did (according to Showtime's The Tudors) by screaming at the top of his lungs, "I'm the king of England!!!"
And thus brunch, the meal of kings, was established.
For centuries only the very wealthy could afford the luxurious trappings of brunch—its eggs Benedicts, its watery cocktails, its hashes made from various leftovers. Sure, that spring vegetable and chevre frittata was overpriced, but wasn't that the point?
But now brunch has been brought to the plebs. It is no longer the storied meal of kings; brunch is the meal of Burger Kings (at least in Massachusetts & Florida). From CNN:
The fast-food chain is testing brunch fare in Massachusetts and Florida, and depending on its success there, it may be rolled out nationally.
The menu is set to feature a breakfast sandwich of eggs, cheese, tomato, ham, bacon and smoky tomato sauce served on Ciabatta bread, Whoppers (which are not usually available in the morning) and the BK Mimosa — a nonalcoholic version of the classic cocktail with Sprite standing in for the traditional champagne.
The horror! Just imagine the unwashed masses belling up to their local Burger King, woefully mispronouncing "Ciabatta," and asking for "one of those OJs cut with Sprite." It's almost too awful to comprehend!
Still, Burger King's brunch menu isn't controversial because it is giving the meal of kings to lowly serfs. No, it's controversial for an even stupider reason: The BK Mimosa might encourage kids to start drinking…mimosas made with Sprite?
[A Burger King spokesman] says the BK Mimosa was a no-brainer.
"The idea of Mimosas and brunch go hand in hand, and we thought it would be a clever and unique way to enhance our morning beverage offerings."
However, watchdog groups such as Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Marin Institute — which monitors the alcohol industry — are not as pleased.
"This normalizes to children at a young age the idea that drinking is fine to do, and something we do everywhere," Michele Simon, the institute's research and policy director, told Brandweek.
First off, drinking alcohol is fine to do, and it's definitely something adults do in restaurants, if not everywhere. But more importantly, is the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood just against the drinking of any and all liquids? Kids shouldn't be exposed to the idea that people ingest liquids? Because the BK Mimosa, as disgusting as it sounds, has no alcohol. Sprite does not transform into champagne just because Burger King mixes it with orange juice and calls it a mimosa.
And if they think the BK Mimosa mocktail is bad, wait until the Campaign For A Commercial Free Childhood hears about how kids can make their own "Long Island Ice Tea" at Subway by squirting a bit of every drink from the do-it-yourself soda fountain into the same cup!