Sunday Brunch

Sunday Brunch

I don’t recall going to church past fourth or fifth grade. We lived in Indonesia. Mass was performed by a Dutch priest in a church without air conditioning. It didn’t seem to take long for my mother, Pat Medaris, to make excuses for not attending – sin that it was to miss mass.

“I don’t get anything out of it when it isn’t offered in Latin.”
“Nan didn’t go to church. She felt closer to God outdoors.”

But outdoors wasn’t air-conditioned either, or so I thought.

Sunday champagne brunch, however, was a family ritual not to be missed during my college years. For my father Bob Medaris (AKA JR, Poppie, Scrooge Sweetie) unlimited champagne, or “champers,” as my Aussie cousins call a bit of bubbly, was a must if the restaurant was to earn his business. Every time I wanted to talk Poppie into something, I picked Sunday and eased the topic into the conversation toward the middle of the meal.

As a newly wed I brought the tradition home. It became a wonderful way to cap a weekend with friends while still saving the last bit of Sunday to unwind and prepare for Monday.

Today being my first Sunday in this new phase of life, I hosted a brunch! I dug out the old recipe for “breakfast casserole,” tweaked it, tossed a salad, and broke bread with eight Portland friends. We finished with a King Cake, courtesy of my dear New Orleans friend Lisa.

The “breakfast casserole” was upgraded by Elizabeth to “Strata”. By either name it is generally layers of egg-soaked bread, meat and cheese to which something magical happens during the 12 hours it marinates in the icebox overnight. I was relieved it was edible! For the past 13 years I have been the dishwasher, Joel the cook. Among our merry band of nine cheering me on was Joel, in a new role as guest.

As for the recipe…mine, circa 1980, is simple. I substituted Maille Dijon for the dry mustard, used 1 Asiago cheese bagel and five slices of Western Hazelnut Bread in place of plain bread and, as a shortcut, bought precooked turkey sausage links to cut up. The result is a wonderful combination, in one mouthful, of all that is good about weekend breakfasts (and I am a big breakfast eater): eggs, milk, bread and cheese.

Strata ingredients are endless. Please send your favorite recipe!  You may also want to visit

As always, Trix

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