While brunch plans outside of the house might be indefinitely postponed, mastering the art of how to have a Zoom brunch will hit a certain kind of spot in the meantime. If a lazy Sunday morning hang with your favorite people is a staple (or the staple of) your social life, missing this event can be painful. While we're all at home social distancing and attempting to flatten the curve, social connection is more needed than ever. Honoring those brunch plans online could be a valuable dose of comfort.
Though it may seem insufficient, virtually eating a meal with your friends can help bridge the gap between solitude and support. Zoom, the rising video conference app, has become increasingly popular for a reason. According to The Guardian, an app tracking firm called Apptopia reported that Zoom was downloaded 2.13 million times on March 23 alone. The Atlantic notes that Zoom cocktail hours, coffee breaks, and dinner parties are booming, especially among tech savvy Gen Z-ers. And to help save our social lives during quarantine, Zoom is now offering free upgrades to non-paying users so that they can chat longer than the allotted 40 free minutes without being charged. Now is the time for that bottomless brunch in cyberspace if there ever was one.
"We are social beings. We need to be connected to thrive. Being physically separated takes its toll on us, but we can get back some of the social connectedness with technology," Dr. Josh Klapow, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, tells Bustle. Keeping the routine of regular "hangs" with your friends will benefit not only to your social life, but also your mental health.
Having a social engagement on the calendar is helpful, especially when you feel like your life is a never-ending Monday from apocalypse hell right now. So stay connected, and to honor your routines, host a Zoom brunch. Here's how:
Get A Zoom Brunch The Calendar
Pick a date and time that works for you and your brunch crew. You want to make sure that you settle on a time that everyone can actually be present for, so get a group chat going and talk about this for a minute. For example, if your friends have kids, schedule your brunch during a nap. Or, if your friends live with other people, have them check with them to find a time that they can ensure a good hour or so of quiet, uninterrupted, private screen time, in a room they can eat in that also has great WiFi. Once you've found a time, set up a Zoom meeting so it's ~official~.
Make Sure Everyone Is Signed Up For It
If you don't already have Zoom, you'll want to download the app on your phone, or desktop, and sign up for it ahead of time. The signup process only takes a minute, and requires you to add your email and name, activate your account by clicking a link that you'll receive in your inbox, and bam, you're ready to chat. Because you'll likely want to make this brunch party a regular event, it's best to have everyone signed up with the app and familiarized with it, first. Once you set the date and time and enter in all of your friends' email addresses, the invites will get sent out.
Discuss Your Zoom Brunch Menu
There are many different ways to go about having a virtual brunch, and you'll want to decide on a plan of action with your crew ahead of time. You might want to prepare your food before the call, so that the meal isn't an interruption. Or, if the food is an important element of the hang, you might want to decide on a theme, so you can all show off your meals when the call begins. Alternatively, you might opt to cook a meal together, while you're chatting. Fruit breads, muffins, and scones are all the rage right now, and here are a few recipes to consider for your brunch bake off:
- Banana Bread Pancakes, recipe by A Cozy Kitchen.
- Applesauce Carrot Cake Muffins, recipe by Baked by Rachel.
- Honey Butter Cornbread, recipe by Cookie and Kate.
- Almond Poppyseed Bread, recipe by A Farm Girl's Dabbles.
- Best Buttery Scones, recipe by The Kitchn.
If Cooking Brunch "Together" ...
If you decide to cook with your friends on Zoom, whether you're making avocado toast or banana bread, you'll want to prep the ingredients ahead of the call, to minimize the amount of clanging and maximize the time you have to sit down, and eat your meal with your friends. Have everyone take out the items they will need, and enjoy the privilege of getting to help each other through the process. You can compare notes on how to do each step, and when you have a finished product, you'll actually feel like you made a meal with your friends, which will be even more rewarding.
Guide The Zoom Call
Though you might be brunching with your closest friends, it takes a while to get the hang of a multi-person video call, especially if you're not used to Zoom. To help take the pressure off the potentially unnatural conversational flow, play Zoom games, or pick talking points to keep everyone engaged, like "what's the pit and the peak of your week?" or "what show is everyone loving right now? If you choose to cook together, you can each present your meals once they are done, show them off to the camera, and discuss how the cooking process was for you. If you opt to cook your own meals ahead of time, you can still go around and share what you made, how you made it, and whether you like it — suffice it to say we could all use as many boredom busting recipes as we can get right now.
Dr. Josh Klapow, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and associate professor of public health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham