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What time do you eat dinner?


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5 hours ago, Matryoshka said:

Yeah, it's a weird time.

European countries also mostly have their big meal closer to the middle of the day, and then the evening meal is much lighter.  I think maybe one reason dinner is so early here is that it's not good to have such a big meal close to bedtime?

In Spain, the big meal is around 2pm.  They eat supper really late - like 10-11pm.  Restaurants don't open for the evening meal till about 9pm, and they close for the midday meal by 4 or so.  Lots of American tourists wandering about at 5-6 pm looking for dinner and wondering why ALL the restaurants are closed.  Businesses and schools shut down for about 3 hours for the midday meal, then people go back to work and work later.

Last year I spent the day with some Spanish teachers from an exchange program, then we went to a restaurant for dinner about 5-5:30 pm.  One of the teachers quipped "Americans don't really eat this early??!"  (and this is someone who's been coming to this country to visit for years.  But still having a hard time wrapping their heads around our 'weird' eating times, lol... )

I am that American in Europe who has to find food at 6 wherever we are. I just can’t adapt to the more typical schedule, and I certainly can’t survive on just a little bread or cornflakes for breakfast. If we are going to eat out, we almost always do it for lunch since  I get cranky when I have to wait for dinner. 

My son spent two weeks in a Flemish hospital last year, and here was the menu:

Breakfast (9): bread with either Nutella, jelly, or spreadable cheese, and lots of coffee. Pretty much just carbs.


Lunch (noon): a massive plate of meat, starch, and veg, plus a small dessert of fruit, yogurt, or a little cake. The main dish was something like spaghetti Bolognese, roast beef and gravy with potatoes, chicken curry and rice, etc. Really nice, high-quality meals. 

Supper (6): bread with either deli meat/pâté, assorted cheeses, or some egg salad. Very light, more like a snack.

Thankfully, his room came with a mini-fridge, so I was able to give him more food for breakfast and supper. He couldn’t ever finish the lunch. 

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7 hours ago, regentrude said:

I don't think so; working/middle class people elsewhere in the world don't all eat at 5pm. They certainly don't in many European countries.
I haven't heard of a Western country other than the US where folks eat at 5.

Such an early dinner is only possible for people who get off work so early in the day, and who have a spouse at home (or returning even earlier) who has dinner ready by that time. Even with the proverbial nine-to-five workday it's impossible for a working person. 

That split exists in the UK . Working class people tend to eat at 5 or 6, and call the evening meal 'tea' or 'high tea'. Middle class people eat later and call it supper 

The midday meal for middle class people  is called lunch, but working class people call it dinner.

If you eat tea, you may have a snack before bed called supper. If you eat supper,  you may have a snack at 4 called afternoon tea.

Edited by Laura Corin
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I have GERD (acid reflux disease) and can't eat less than 3 hours before going to bed. That means if I had dinner at 7 or 8 I couldn't go to bed until 10 or 11. Now, I rarely go to sleep before midnight but I'm usually in bed reading by 11. And if I ate late and was extra tired, I couldn't go to bed early. I wouldn't do well on the European meal plan. 😄 

After dh's grandmother died in 1995, we found her diary. She often references dinner and supper. Her family owned a farm in Tennessee. It seems they had dinner, their big meal, around 2pm. Supper happened anywhere from 7-9 pm. Sometimes she mentions being tired and going to bed without supper. It took us a while to realize supper was basically just an evening snack. 

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