The Trouble With Brunch

The Trouble With Brunch

Work, Class and the Pursuit of Leisure

Book - 2014 | First edition
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"The Trouble with Brunch is a provocative analysis of foodie obsession and status anxiety, but it's also a call to reset our class consciousness. The real trouble with brunch isn't so much bad service and outsized portions of bacon, it's that brunch could be so much more."--From publisher.
Publisher: Toronto : Coach House Books, ©2014
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781552452851
Branch Call Number: 306.481 MIC 2014
Characteristics: 107 pages ; 20 cm


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ksoles Nov 30, 2014

In "The Trouble With Brunch," Shawn Micallef wonders whether consumerism truly satisfies the middle class. To explore this question, he asks another: do we actually enjoy going out for brunch? The author specifically analyzes the "creative class" through their adoration of brunch, a symbol of leisure time, money and the ability to waste the two of them on cholesterol-packed, over-priced and probably sub-par eggs Benedict.

Micallef uses economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen’s words to explain brunch as “a conspicuous consumption of goods, a leisure-class requirement.” But, with reverence to distressed furniture, chipped dishware and farm-origin menus, this consumption actually celebrates the working class. Ironically, patrons would never define themselves as such; everyone now identifies as middle class, rendering the term useless.

Micallef astutely and engagingly discusses the intricacies of brunch: how we use it to display freedom, how consuming it fits us nicely into a mould and how the brunch experience, no matter how extraordinary the establishment tries to make it, is always the same. At times though, the topic of brunch simply bookends a more relevant essay about the current state of class. Micallef describes the people in Windsor, Ont., where he grew up: mostly immigrants who worked in factories. These families all qualified as middle class but had a completely different mindset from those he now hobnobs with in Toronto, the creative class subset who perceive they have the freedom to eschew Wal-Mart and change careers over a cocktail.

Somewhat frustratingly, Micallef doesn’t provide any answers, instead urging readers to give serious thought to how we can use authenticity, class and leisure time to improve social interactions.

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