Now gluten-free!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

When Do We Eat?

"What time is dinner?" This article from the October/November 2001 issue of History Magazine seeks to answer that question:
    Today many people find it strange that the biggest meal of the day once centered around noon, but it made great sense at the time. Artificial lighting such as oil lamps and candles were expensive, and provided weak illumination at best. So people went to sleep at sundown, because it's difficult to work and eat in the dark. The last meal of the day was a rushed affair, a quick snack before the lights (the sun) went out. The only exceptions were those who had to work at night, and the extremely wealthy and powerful people at royal courts. The wealthiest courts, like those of France and Burgundy might stay up after sunset, their grandly decorated halls illuminated by thousands of candles or torches. But they were unusual; most medieval people never witnessed such spectacles. ...

    ... In the 1790s the upper class was rising from bed around ten a.m. or noon, and then eating breakfast at an hour when their grandparents had eaten dinner. They then went for "morning walks" in the afternoon and greeted each other with "Good morning" until they ate their dinner at perhaps five or six p.m. Then it was "afternoon" until evening came with supper, sometime between nine p.m. and two a.m.! The rich, famous and fashionable did not go to bed until dawn. With their wealth and social standing, they were able to change the day to suit themselves. The hours they kept differentiated them from the middle and lower classes as surely as did their clothes, servants and mansions. ...

    ... Luncheon as a regular daily meal only developed in the US in the 1900s. In the 1945 edition of Etiquette, Emily Post still referred to luncheon as "generally given by and for women, but it is not unusual, especially in summer places or in town on Saturday or Sunday, to include an equal number of men." She also referred to supper as "the most intimate meal there is...none but family or nearest friends are ever included." Only hash or cold meat were to be served at supper; anything hot or complicated was served at dinner. In her first edition of Etiquette, in 1922, Post had seen no need to explain that. But by the 1945 edition, she had to explain that luncheon was an informal midday meal and supper an informal evening meal, while dinner was always formal, but could occur at midday or evening.
If you like food as much as I do, check out the full article here.

1 comment:

Craver Vii said...

Oi! You've been tagged!

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