Why You Should Think Twice Before Ordering Canadian Bacon At Brunch

In Season 1, Episode 9 of "The Simpsons," Jacques summed up brunch to Marge Simpson: "It's not quite breakfast, it's not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end. You don't get completely what you would at breakfast, but you get a good meal." 

Fruit garnish aside, when we think about some of the most common brunch dishes, many diverse items come to mind. For example, chicken and waffles, breakfast burritos, omelets, and eggs Benedict – two halves of an English muffin topped with Canadian bacon, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce — can all be ordered at brunch. That said, you might want to reconsider ordering anything that uses Canadian bacon.

Some chefs would urge you to proceed with caution when deciding whether to make Canadian bacon a part of your brunch routine. Since brunch generally only occurs on the weekends, if a restaurant doesn't serve breakfast during the week, you don't really know how long it may have been sitting in a fridge before reaching your plate. While this may not be the case at high-end establishments, it could be a valid concern elsewhere.

Other brunch dishes to avoid

The combo of Canadian bacon and hollandaise sauce, both of which may not be the freshest at brunch time, poses a high-risk, low-reward bacterial situation. The FDA advises that hollandaise may contain raw or undercooked eggs, which can pose a health risk. But Canadian bacon and eggs Benedict aren't the only brunch menu items you might want to avoid ordering. 

According to chefs, other examples of the worst brunch dishes to order include corned beef hash, which — depending on the venue — could be composed mainly of repurposed leftover meats, potatoes, and veggies. And if you needed another reason to skip out on ordering eggs Benedict, it is also considered an unhealthy brunch choice due to the high-fat content of hollandaise sauce (via WebMD). When in doubt, just go with an omelet. You'll get healthy protein from eggs, and you can further augment its nutritional benefits by incorporating fresh vegetables or other protein options — just not Canadian bacon. And don't forget to eat your slice of cantaloupe.