Brunch is the most straightforward meal of them all, which may be the reason so many people love to hate on it. There’s no room for creativity in the world of mid-morning/early-afternoon weekend eating, partially because brunchers are a notoriously cranky set, working through their ish from the night before, likely with a raging headache.
The rules are simple: Brunch has got to include eggs, bacon/sausage, an extra-sweet French toast concoction, a lot of watery juice-based cocktails, and your sorry, hungover ass commiserating with your equally sorry friends. If you’re sitting outside, you’re wearing sunglasses the entire time, and if you’re inside – hell, there’s a good chance you’re wearing sunglasses the entire time. Some restaurants are trying hard to innovate, putting out brunch pizzas, brunch burgers, and even brunch nachos, but it all boils down to an egg on top of something swimming in grease, same as the rest.
#Brunch is any random collection of foods consumed before 1pm by fame whores and people who may not speak English well.
It only makes sense, then, that if you go looking for photos of brunch on Instagram, you’ll see a lot of the same thing, right? Wrong! On Instagram, hashtag brunch is not brunch as you know it. #Brunch is any random collection of foods consumed before 1pm by fame whores and people who may not speak English well. To the fine people of Instagram, #brunch is a blank slate just waiting for you to stamp your personality all over it, with a million selfies or whatever broke-ass meal you made for yourself or your bae.
There’s plenty of debate about the basic merits of brunch, but we’re not here to jump into that mess today. How you feel about that weekend black hole is between you and your god—all we can do is help you spread the gospel the best you can, so we’ve rounded up the 10 most common types of #brunch Instagrammers. Read through to find where you fit in so you can start living your best Instagram life.
The Trend Whore
You’re always chasing the dream, falling just one step behind that amazing shot you saw a month ago on Bon Appétit’s feed. You’ve forced yourself to like kale, chia, and muesli—at least for long enough to drown your Instagram feed with them—all because they look so good in photos. You want everyone to know that you’re totally anti-brunch because you heard food bloggers think it’s lame—but just to make sure you’re still in the hashtag game, you’ll cram an entire avocado onto a crusty old piece of bread, snap a pic from an artful angle, and hope to finally crack the 100-like barrier.
Let’s be real: Instagram is about 90% teenage girls, no matter what we’re talking about. So when it comes to #brunch, it’s no surprise that they’re ruling the place. The real surprise: How many seemingly reasonable, grown-ass people turn into teenage girls the second the basket of mini muffins gets dropped at the table. It’s a scientific fact that tiny foods target the same part of your brain that puppies and babies do, firing all of your cute receptors and rendering you helpless. Have you ever ordered hot chocolate with your meal, or made any food in the shape of a smiley face? You’re a teenage girl. Watch out—that slippery slope leads right to cupcakes.
You’re the person who loves to use the phrase “money shot” at every possible opportunity, whether it’s in conversations with your boss, your grandma, or a first date. Everything you eat is about excess—and there’s nothing more gluttonous than brunch, with its cream sauces, runny eggs, and countless opportunities to add cheese. Of course, your photos are going to zoom right up in it—how else will people know just how decadent your meal really was? Your sad secret is that food like this is the only pleasure you’re getting out of life; it’s only natural you’ll get a little overexcited about it. Just try to play it cool around any dates, okay? No one wants to know that Hollandaise is the only thing that’s “getting you up” in the morning.
For some, brunch is an excuse to drink heavily in the daytime, or to eat more butter than one person should consume in a month. But for others, it’s a way to have cake for breakfast without having to hide in their shame closet while doing so. Pound-cake French toast. Double-chocolate croissants. The entire IHOP menu. All candy masquerading as food, luring unsuspecting diners into its web of blood sugar spikes and pre-diabetes. But at least they’ll give you the energy to get through the rest next two hours of the day, which is more than you can say about those gravy-coated tater tots your friend just ordered.
The Basic Bitch
There’s no shame in making yourself breakfast, even if the only things you have lying around the house are some freezer-burnt tortillas, an egg, and a jar of tomato sauce. We know it’s harder than it seems to cook a tasty meal that looks attractive too, and nobody is going to fault you for just keeping yourself alive one more day. But Instagram is for bragging, not sharing your shame. Don’t spread the tragic creation out on your counter and try to tell us you’re having brunch—we can tell you’re about to eat that thing sitting on the couch in your underwear, and it’s bumming us all out.
We’ve gone into the weird, ugly world of #cleaneating on Instagram before, the hashtag for the borderline eating-disordered who want to show off what little fun they’re having when they eat. Even here, in the obscene, unhealthy realm of brunch, these people have spread their tentacles. Quinoa hashbrowns that look like extruded cardboard. Chia seed spread on toast like a bacterial culture gone wrong. These foods bear no resemblance to the brunch pics that get all the faves, because they’re so obviously unpleasant to be around. You can arrange your sliced apple and half a banana in as adorable a pattern as you want, it doesn’t cancel out the fact that you’re eating the word no.
The Art Director
You’ve never met a filter you didn’t like. In your head, your brunch photos are the living embodiment of the New York Times Style section—you’re not just having brunch, you’re brunching. Never mind the fact that instead of the airy, whitewashed house in Connecticut, you’ve got a dingy railroad apartment in Bushwick that you share with three roommates, not a champion Weimeraner named Fritz. On Instagram, nobody knows anything more than what you decide to show them, so go ahead and live out your Hamptons fantasies. It’s a lot easier than trying to convince your roommates you’re really one of the Kennedys.
We’re all in favor of menu diversity, but brunch has a solidly defined set of parameters—a glass ceiling of foodstuffs that you’re not going to be the one to break, no matter how many bowls of Bolognese you defiantly tag. Well, not unless you put an egg on them! Just eating something between 11am and 3pm isn’t enough to make it brunch; it’s got to come with a free drink and potatoes on the side. Give up and call what you’ve got lunch (or #lunch, if you must), because that’s all it’s ever going to be. On Instagram, nobody can hear your protest songs, and you just end up looking severely confused.
On the menu: All of the Bloody Marys
Favorite prop: Garnish—the bigger, the better. Celery sticks, bacon shrimp, an entire bar menu (for real, though).
Props to you for recognizing exactly what brunch is all about and owning it. Dress it up in as many gingham napkins and mason jars as you want, the only reason brunch is such a powerful force is because it’s the only acceptable way for the gainfully employed to day drink, and everyone knows day drinking is the greatest. Go ahead and get the most out of your two hours of bottomless bloodies—even if you make an absolute mess of yourself you can always go home, sleep it off, and be ready to go again by dinnertime. You’re living the dream.
Is this how the kids are doing it? Sorry, no. Oatmeal sometimes appears on brunch menus, but it’s there strictly to make old folks feel comfortable when they take their grandchildren out on the weekend—it’s not too foreign and it won’t cause heartburn. But just being on the menu isn’t enough to make it brunch. Oatmeal is breakfast, grey and unphotogenic, especially when compared to the riot of colors of a Cobb salad or a majestic tower of Belgian waffles. It’s what your mom made you before school to keep you going through math class, or what you choke down quickly after the gym before you head to work. It’ll never be brunch—but hey, at least you’re getting your fiber.