Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Service of Afternoon Teas
The old English tradition of taking afternoon tea at 4 o’clock is slowly dying out and in its place the trend is towards ‘tea and pastries’ only, the venue changing from the hotel lounge to the coffee bars and tea gardens. This trend is due to two main factors, the first being the problem of the staffing of the afternoon period between lunch and dinner, and the second being a simple case of economics in that in order to make the service of afternoon tea pay the hotelier would have to charge a price unacceptable to the public.
However afternoon tea is still served in many establishments and in a variety of forms which may be classified into three main types:
a) Full afternoon tea as served in a first class hotel;
b) High tea as served in a popular price restaurant or café;
c) The reception or buffet tea.
Full Afternoon Tea
This is usually served in the hotel lounge by the lounge waiters or by a small brigade drawn from the restaurant on a rota basis. The lounge tables will be used and are covered with an afternoon tea cloth which may be white or coloured. A buffet table may be set up in one corner of the lounge, preferably with immediate access to the stillroom and service area. It would be set up as a sideboard with all the necessary equipment for serving and relaying the afternoon teas.
The menu will usually consist of some or all of the following items which are served in the order in which they are listed.
1. Hot beverages
2. Assorted afternoon tea sandwiches – Smoked salmon, cucumber, tomato, sardine, egg, Gentleman’s relish
3. Tea cake, crumpets, scones, muffins etc
4. Sliced brown and white bread and butter, fruit bread and butter, & preserves like raspberry or strawberry jams
5. Gâteaux , pastries, iced cakes, sweet deserts ,etc
With reference to the menu above:
1. The sandwiches are sent from the larder already dressed on silver flats and these are set out on the buffet prior to service.
2. Tea cakes, crumpets, scones, muffins etc are obtained from the stillroom as ordered and are served in a soup plate or welled dish with a silver cover on an underplate. An alternative to this would be the use of a muffin dish which is a covered silver dish with an inner lining and with hot water in the lower part of the container. It is essential that all these items are served hot. When serving hot buttered toast for afternoon tea, the crusts from three sides are removed, and the toast is then cut into ‘fingers’ with part of the crust attached to each ‘finger’.
3. The assorted buttered breads are obtained from the stillroom and are dressed on doilies on silver flats and are also set out on the buffet. Preserves are also obtained from the stillroom, either in individual pots or in preserve dishes, both of which are served on a doily on an underplate and with a preserve spoon.
4. Gâteaux and pastries are collected already dressed up on doilies on silver flats or salvers from the chief pâtissier. An alternative to this would be the use of a pastry trolley.
Cover for afternoon tea
1. Side plate.
2. Paper serviette.
3. Side or tea knife.
4. Pastry fork.
5. Tea cup and saucer with a tea spoon.
6. Slop basin and a tea strainer.
7. Sugar basin and tongs.
8. Tea pot and hot water jug stands or underplates.
9. Jug of cold milk.
10. Preserve dish on a doily on an underplate with a preserve spoon.
11. Ashtray.
Items 9 and 10 may be brought to the table only when the guests are seated and are not part of the basic
mis-en-place.
Service of afternoon tea
As soon as the order has been taken, the top copy of the check is sent to the stillroom for the beverage and any toasted items that may be required. While these are being prepared, items 9 and 10 of the cove listed above are set on the table.
The beverage will be served first making sure that the teapot, hot water jug and milk jug are placed to the right of the hostess of the party and with the handles correctly positioned for easy pouring. The toasted items are served next and are followed in turn by the other savoury items and then the assorted buttered breads with the appropriate preserve.
The side plate will then be changed before serving the pastries. There are three alternative methods for the actual service of the food, this depending on the type of establishment and style of service being employed, and also the number of staff available. These are as follows:
a) Silver service direct from the various silver flats
b) As for a) but with all the flats on a trolley which is wheeled from table to table.
c) The waiter plates up the food at the buffet with the appropriate portions and the plates are all set on the table. This method has obvious disadvantages in that it is time wasting and uneconomical.


Additional reading material
Afternoon Tea is a light meal typically eaten between 3 pm and 5 pm. The custom of drinking tea originated in England when Catherine of Braganza married Charles II in 1661 and brought the practice of drinking tea in the afternoon with her from Portugal. Various places that belonged to the former British Empire also have such a meal. However, changes in social customs and working hours mean that most Britons will rarely take afternoon tea, if at all.
Traditionally, loose tea is brewed in a teapot and served in teacups with milk and sugar. This is accompanied by sandwiches (customarily cucumber, egg and cress{any of various plants of the mustard family which are cultivated for their sharp tasting leaves , which can be eaten raw or cooked} , fish paste, ham {ham is cut from the leg of pork}, and smoked salmon), scones (with clotted cream and jam, see Cream tea) and usually cakes and pastries (such as Battenberg, fruit cake or Victoria sponge). The food is often served on a tiered stand: there may be no sandwiches, but bread or scones with butter or margarine and optional jam or other spread.
A formal, proper afternoon tea nowadays is usually taken as a treat in a hotel, café or tea shop. In everyday life, many British take much simpler refreshment consisting of tea and biscuits at teatime.
Anna Maria Russell, Duchess of Bedford, is credited as the first person to have transformed afternoon tea in England into a late afternoon meal rather than simple refreshment.
Isabella Beeton describes afternoon teas of various kinds: the old-fashioned tea, the at-home tea, the family tea and the high tea and provides menus.[4]


Breakfast is the first meal of the day. The word is a compound of "break" and "fast," referring to the conclusion of fasting since the previous day's last meal. Breakfast meals vary widely in different cultures around the world but often include a carbohydrate such as cereal or rice, fruit and/or vegetable, protein, sometimes a dairy product, and a drink.
Nutritional experts have referred to breakfast as the most important meal of the day. This is based on studies of the large numbers of people in the West who skip breakfast, to adverse effect on their concentration, metabolism and weight

History
Breakfast has commonly been practiced worldwide and is a concept easily transferred between cultures, but there have been many regional interpretations over the years. In Medieval Europe, for instance, the basic format of meals differed from what is currently 'standard', in that only two meals were to be had – a heavy dinner at noon and a light supper, largely due to the influence of the Church.
However, exceptions existed, most notably for children and the infirm. They were allowed a small breakfast meal, and many labourers, farmers, and other physical workers also took the meal despite criticism and social pressure on them not to, and by the 15th century even the nobility had begun to ignore the rules and mores of polite society and took breakfast.[7]
The earliest appearance in print of the idea that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" occurs in the novella Metamorphosis, published in 1915 by Franz Kafka, which includes the line, "for Gregor's father, breakfast was the most important meal of the day".

Continental breakfast
Continental breakfast is a meal based on lighter Mediterranean breakfast traditions. It is a light meal meant to satisfy one until lunch. A typical Continental breakfast consists of coffee and milk (often mixed as Cappuccino or latte) or hot chocolate with a variety of sweet cakes such as brioche and pastries such as croissant, often with a sweet jam, cream, or chocolate filling. It is often served with juice. The continental breakfast may also include sliced cold meats, such as salami or ham, yogurt or cereal, served with bread or bread roll. Some countries of Europe, such as the Netherlands and those in Scandinavia, add fruit and cheese to the bread menu and occasionally a boiled egg or a small serving of salami.
The Continental Breakfast concept is not limited to Europe and is often served throughout the world in hotel chains.
The term itself is of British origin. "The continent" in Britain refers to the countries of mainland Europe. A "continental breakfast" thus denotes the type of lighter meal served in mainland Europe, as opposed to the "full", or "traditional", cooked British breakfast.
Traditionally, people in the United Kingdom and Ireland have enjoyed a substantial hot meal for breakfast, featuring eggs, bacon, and sausages, accompanied by toast and tea or coffee. These items are sometimes eaten separately on morning rolls. Many other items (for example kedgeree, grilled or fried tomatoes, black pudding or white pudding, baked beans, fried sliced bread, various types of fried potatoes and mushrooms) may be included depending on taste and location. Today, this dish remains popular but is not usually served at breakfast time during the week. Many people instead reserve the full cooked breakfast for weekends, or go to a café or pub for it at the weekend. A full breakfast is also a meal available any time at many cafés and greasy spoons. It is also served at hotels where it can be quite substantial in size and variety. The author Somerset Maugham once quipped that "the only way to eat well in England is to have breakfast three times a day." This is sometimes quoted as the origin of the term, and indeed meal, all-day breakfast.[citation needed]
Another popular breakfast in England is the kipper, a type of salted, smoked herring that is then grilled or fried, though in England at least, usually steamed.
This traditional cooked breakfast has largely been replaced by simple, light foods mainly eaten cold: fruit, yogurt, packaged cereal with cold milk, and toast with a variety of spreads such as butter, jam, marmalade, lemon curd, Marmite, or peanut butter. Boiled eggs with soldiers are also a popular breakfast meal in the UK although like the full English breakfast they are mainly eaten at the weekend. Porridge is a traditional breakfast in Scotland as well as the rest of Britain in the winter months. In most British hotels this breakfast is included in the room rate.[citation needed]
Today, most Americans and Canadians eat a reduced breakfast most days, but may still enjoy a traditional hearty breakfast on weekends, holidays, and vacations. Having only coffee or skipping breakfast entirely is also common. Eating out for breakfast or brunch is common on weekends and holidays.
Eggs are strongly associated with breakfast.


Waffles with fruit and sausage patties are a contemporary hearty breakfast, and would likely be enjoyed on a weekend or special occasion.
A typical contemporary combination of food for a hearty breakfast consists of eggs (fried or scrambled), one type of meat, and one or two starchy dishes; commonly hash browns and toast. A more basic breakfast combination would be a starchy food (such as toast, pastry, breakfast cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, or waffles) either alone or served with fruit and yogurt. This second option, similar to the Continental breakfasts served in Europe, is especially common in institutional situations where serving hot food is difficult, expensive, or impractical.
Restaurants that serve breakfast typically base their menus around egg dishes and pork meats such as sausage, ham and bacon. Pancakes and waffles are also popular. An assemblage commonly known as a country breakfast in restaurants consists of eggs or omelette, sausage or bacon, hash browns, sausage gravy, coffee, biscuits or toast with jam or jelly, and fruit juice.
A typical breakfast for those that eat ordinary breakfast as a home meal is instant oatmeal or a cold breakfast cereal with milk. Leftovers from the previous day's meals may also be eaten, such as cold pizza and hot pockets.
A worker's breakfast often consists only of coffee and prepared food purchased on the way to work or brought from home, eaten during the morning commute or at the workplace just before clocking in. Food items that fit this eat-on-the-go strategy include various sweet breakfast breads and pastries, bagels (often with cream cheese), sweetened flavored yogurt cups, smoothies and milkshakes, fresh fruit, granola or "energy" bars, toaster pastries, and fast food. Many fast food restaurants sell breakfast versions of their typical offerings that include eggs and are usually sweeter and less spicy. Examples of such breakfasts-to-go are: egg-filled sandwiches on croissants, biscuits or muffins, and breakfast burritos filled with eggs, cheese and sometimes sausage.
Healthier breakfasts are gaining in popularity in some parts of the country such as California, featuring yogurt, whole-grain cereal, fresh fruit or egg-white omelets.
Coffee is the most common breakfast beverage. In the United States, 65% of coffee drunk during the day is with breakfast.[6] Also common are tea, milk, hot chocolate, orange juice, and other fruit juices (grapefruit, tomato, etc). Occasionally, caffeinated carbonated beverages may be substituted for the more traditional coffee or tea. Espresso drinks such as cappuccino and latte have become increasingly popular since the 1990s. In Washington State and British Columbia, the cappuccino and latte are the default way of buying coffee for breakfast.
The modern options typical of the U.S.A. and Canada are representative of Western-style breakfasts that have become common worldwide, especially in industrialized nations.
Breakfast is thought as the foods typically eaten during morning hours, that are distinct from other foods even if eaten outside of the morning. In this sense, some serve breakfast for dinner. There are several fast food and casual dining chains in North America, such as IHOP and Denny's, that specialize in hearty breakfast-style foods, such as pancakes and country breakfasts, and offer them all day. Like greasy spoons in the UK, American coffeeshops and diners typically serve breakfast foods all day.

Elevenses
In the United Kingdom, Ireland and some Commonwealth realms, elevenses is a snack that is similar to afternoon tea, but eaten in the morning.[1] It is generally less savoury than brunch, and might consist of some cake or biscuits with a cup of tea. The name refers to the time of day that it is taken: around 11 am. The word "elevensies" is seen as a little old fashioned.[citation needed]
In Australia and New Zealand, it is called morning tea or smoko (often little lunch, recess or playlunch in primary school). Choice of foods consumed at morning tea vary from cakes, pastries or lamingtons, or biscuits, to just coffee. In the Royal Australian Navy it is commonly referred to as "Morno's".
In many Spanish-speaking cultures the term las onces (the elevens in Spanish) is used to describe a similar meal. Among Chileans, the tradition was known as under the same name, although in modern times, it has shifted in most respects to later in the afternoon, more closely reflecting the pattern of British "tea time".[

Meal
A meal is an instance of eating, specifically one that takes place at a specific time and includes specific, prepared food.
Meals occur primarily at homes, restaurants, and cafeterias, but may occur anywhere. Regular meals occur on a daily basis, typically several times a day. Special meals are usually held in conjunction with such occasions as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and holidays.
A meal is different from a snack in that meals are larger, more varied, and more filling, while snacks are more likely to be small, high-calorie affairs; however, any food eaten in small amounts at an unscheduled time can be classified as a snack.
A picnic is an outdoor meal where one brings one's food, such as a sandwich or a prepared meal (sometimes in a picnic basket). It often takes place in a natural or recreative area, such as a park, forest, beach, or grassy lawn. On long drives a picnic may take place at a road-side stop such as a rest area.
A banquet is a large, often formal, and elaborate meal with many guests and dishes.With lots of food


[edit] Common meals
These are the most common set mealtimes in the Western-world.
• Breakfast is usually eaten within an hour or two after a person wakes up in the morning.[1]
• Lunch is eaten around mid-day, usually between 11 am–2 pm.[2]
• Supper in the US and UK is a meal eaten in the evening.[3]
• Dinner is the main meal of the day, regardless of whether it's at lunchtime or in the evening. Dinner also refers to the evening meal as a formal meal or just the evening meal in the south of England.[4]
• Dessert is typically eaten after dinner as a treat. It may be considered a course within a meal or a meal itself. Cakes, pastries, fresh fruit, and ice cream are examples of common dessert food.
[edit] Other meals
• Second Breakfast is a traditional midmorning meal served in parts of central Europe.
• Elevenses, also called "Morning Tea," is a drink and light snack taken late morning after breakfast and before lunch.
• Brunch is a late-morning meal, usually larger than a breakfast and usually replacing both breakfast and lunch; it is most common on Sundays.
• Afternoon Tea is a midafternoon meal, typically taken at 4pm, consisting of light fare such as small sandwiches, individual cakes and scones with tea.[5]
• High Tea is a British meal usually eaten in the early evening.

LUNCH


It is the midday meal in many English speaking countries. The world was introduced into France in the first half of the 19th century and is used for a cold buffet served at a reception where a large number of guests have to be catered for. In addition to canapés, a lunch of this type consists of cheeses, fruits; petit fours, chilled puddings and a few larger dishes such as fish an aspic and old hams.


Cultural variations within Europe have divided them into siesta loving and snacks eating people. The British claim that after a heavy meal, efficiency is reduced. Therefore, they avoid any such item which is greasy and soft and saucy. They enjoy dry, easy to eat items like sandwiches and savories with coffee and tea to make them easy to gulp. British nonetheless eat a heavy breakfast



On the other hand Europeans enjoy an excellent lunch with several courses. They however skip heavy breakfasts, call themselves continental. French, Italian, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese are the ones who enjoy heavy lunch followed by a siesta The ideal time for lunch is between 12 noon to 3 p.m. The menu is similar to dinner but not identical. For e.g. appetizer is preferred to soup, more cold items, a beer or a soft drink to wet the gullet, fish to heavy roast or raised items, less accompaniment, a cold sweet to a hot sweet, prefer tea to coffee.


Afternoon Tea


A cup of tea


Afternoon Tea is a light meal typically eaten between 3 pm and 5 pm. The custom of drinking tea originated in England when Catherine of Braganza married Charles II in 1661 and brought the practice of drinking tea in the afternoon with her from Portugal.[citation needed] Various places that belonged to the former British Empire also have such a meal. However, changes in social customs and working hours mean that most Britons will rarely take afternoon tea, if at all.
Traditionally, loose tea is brewed in a teapot and served in teacups with milk and sugar. This is accompanied by sandwiches (customarily cucumber, egg and cress, fish paste, ham, and smoked salmon), scones (with clotted cream and jam, see Cream tea) and usually cakes and pastries (such as Battenberg, fruit cake or Victoria sponge). The food is often served on a tiered stand: there may be no sandwiches, but bread or scones with butter or margarine and optional jam or other spread.[1][2][3]
A formal, proper afternoon tea nowadays is usually taken as a treat in a hotel, café or tea shop. In everyday life, many British take a much simpler refreshment consisting of tea and biscuits at teatime.
Anna Maria Russell, Duchess of Bedford, is credited as the first person to have transformed afternoon tea in England into a late afternoon meal rather than a simple refreshment.
Isabella Beeton describes afternoon teas of various kinds: the old-fashioned tea, the at-home tea, the family tea and the high tea and provides menus.[4]
[edit] High Tea
High Tea (also known as meat tea[5]) is an early evening meal, typically eaten between 5pm and 6pm. It would substitute for both afternoon tea and the evening meal. It is now largely replaced by a later evening meal.
High Tea would usually consist of cold meats, eggs or fish, cakes and sandwiches. In a family, it tends to be less formal and is an informal snack (featuring sandwiches, biscuits, pastry, fruit and the like) or else it is the main evening meal.
On farms or other working class environments, high tea would be the traditional, substantial meal eaten by the workers immediately after nightfall, and would combine afternoon tea with the main evening meal. See also The UK Tea Council Definition.
In recent years, high tea has become a term for elaborate afternoon tea, though this is American usage and mainly unrecognised in Britain. This usage is disfavored by etiquette advisors, such as Miss Manners (see United States below).
United States
For most of the United States, the morning or afternoon break is not often referred to as tea as the beverage has not traditionally been a widespread choice with Americans. The term coffee break is used instead to denote a morning social gathering for a snack and short downtime where hot and cold beverages and cakes, breads and pastries are consumed.
The term "high tea" is also used in the United States to refer to afternoon tea or the "tea party," a very formal, ritualised gathering in which tea, thin sandwiches and little cakes are served on the best china. This usage is an analogical construction, the term "high" being associated with social "formality" (rather than a "high," or main, table). Etiquette experts hold the opinion that such usage is unorthodox outside commercial contexts.
This form of tea is increasingly served in high-end American hotels, often during the Christmas holidays and other tourist seasons, and a rising number of big-city teahouses, where it is usually correctly described as "Afternoon Tea." The Tea Party is still occasionally given in the U.S., either for a special occasion or in honour of a visiting celebrity or guest.
Brunch or bruncheon is a combination of breakfast and lunch [1] The term is a portmanteau of breakfast and lunch(eon). Brunch is often served after a morning event or prior to an afternoon one, such as a wedding or sporting event. As such, it is a heavy meal meant to take the place of both. While common in the United States and Canada, according to Punch magazine, the term was introduced in Britain around 1896 by Hunter's Weekly, then becoming student slang.[2] Other sources claim that the term was invented by New York Morning Sun reporter Frank Ward O'Malley based on the typical mid-day eating habits of a newspaper reporter.[3][4]
Some colleges and hostels serve brunch, especially on Sundays and holidays. Such brunches are often serve-yourself buffets, but menu-ordered meals may be available instead of, or with, the buffet. The meal usually involves standard breakfast foods such as eggs, sausages, bacon, ham, fruits, pastries, pancakes, and the like. However, it can include almost any other type of food served throughout the day. Buffets may have quiche, large roasts of meat or poultry, cold seafood like shrimp and smoked fish, salads, soups, vegetable dishes, many types of breadstuffs, and desserts of all sorts.
The dim sum brunch is a popular meal in Chinese restaurants worldwide.[5] It consists of a wide variety of stuffed bao (buns), dumplings, and other savory or sweet food items which have been steamed, deep-fried, or baked. Customers select small portions from passing carts, as the kitchen continuously produces and sends out more freshly-prepared dishes. Dim sum is usually eaten as a mid-morning, midday, or mid-afternoon teatime.
Dinner
Not to be confused with Supper.
Not to be confused with Dinner-time.
Dinner is the name of the main meal of the day. Depending upon region and/or social class, it may be the second or third meal of the day.[1] Originally, it referred to the first meal of the day, eaten about noon, and is still occasionally used in this fashion if it refers to a large or main meal.
Dinner courses
In many Western countries, simple dinner may consist of meat or other proteins served with vegetables and/or a grain or cereal product, like bread, potatoes, rice or pasta.[citation needed]
More elaborate dinners have several courses, for example starting with an appetizer or soup, and ending with dessert.[citation needed]
[edit] Dinner, lunch, supper and tea
In general, people in rural parts of America, Canada, and other Anglophone countries eat breakfast, dinner and supper. Germans traditionally stick to the same pattern. In these cases, dinner typically happens between midday and early afternoon. But whether town or country, wherever the dominant industry of an area involves hard labor (e.g., farming, mining, timber trade), the midday meal is an important feature because it divides the day's labor in half and provides necessary replenishment of nutrients. The evening meal is smaller than the midday meal and is commonly called 'supper'. In Scotland and northern England, supper is almost invariably called 'tea' (specifically, "high tea" - which does not indicate high formality but indicates that some kind of meat, fish, etc., is being served).
People who live in cities and towns, and especially those who work in "white collar" positions, typically eat dinner in the evening. Their midday meal is called lunch (or luncheon) and is often a small and quick meal, although a business lunch can be large, heavy and protracted.
In the north of England the word dinner usually refers to the midday meal (though it may also be used interchangeably with "lunch"), and throughout the UK the term "dinner-ladies" traditionally refers to women who cook the mid-day meal, or supervise children at this time, in schools. The evening or after-work meal is referred to as tea. However, the upper and upper-middle classes nationwide invariably eat lunch at midday and dinner (or supper, if it is a small meal) in the evening (see U and non-U English).
On holidays, such as American and Canadian Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and occasionally on weekends, people who normally eat dinner in the evening will eat their special holiday dinner in the early afternoon.
Lunch
Luncheon, commonly abbreviated to lunch, is a midday meal.[1]
In English-speaking countries during the eighteenth century what was originally called "dinner"— a word still sometimes used to mean a noontime meal in the UK, and in parts of Canada and the United States — was moved by stages later in the day and came in the course of the nineteenth century to be eaten at night, replacing the light meal called supper, which was delayed by the upper class to midnight.
The mid-day meal on Sunday and the festival meals on Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving (in the U.S. and Canada) are still often eaten at the old hours, usually either at noon or between two and four in the afternoon, and called dinner. Traditional farming communities also may still commonly have the largest meal of the day at mid-day and refer to this meal as "dinner."[citation needed]
The abbreviation lunch, in use from 1823,[1] is taken from the more formal "Lunchentach,"[2] which the OED reports from 1580, as a word for a meal that was inserted between more substantial meals.
In medieval Germany, there are references to nuncheontach, a non lunchentach according to OED, a noon draught— of ale, with bread— an extra meal between midday dinner and supper, especially during the long hours of hard labour during haying or early harvesting. In Munich, by the 1730s and 40s, the upper class were rising later and dining at three or four in the afternoon, and by 1770 their dinner hour in Pomberano was four or five.[3] A formal evening meal, artificially lit by candles, sometimes with entertainment, was a "supper party" as late as Regency times.
In the 19th century, male artisans went home for a brief dinner, where their wives fed them, but as the workplace was removed farther from the home, working men took to providing themselves with something portable to eat at a break in the schedule during the middle of the day. In parts of India a light, portable lunch is known as tiffin.
Ladies whose husbands would eat at the club would be free to leave the house and have lunch with one another, though not in restaurants until the twentieth century. 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"— hence the mildly disparaging phrase, "the ladies who lunch." Lunch was a ladies' light meal; when the Prince of Wales stopped to eat a dainty luncheon with lady friends, he was laughed at for this effeminacy.[3] Afternoon tea supplemented this luncheon at four o'clock, from the 1840s.[3] Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management had much less to explain about luncheon than about dinners or ball suppers:
The remains of cold joints, nicely garnished, a few sweets, or a little hashed meat, poultry or game, are the usual articles placed on the table for luncheon, with bread and cheese, biscuits, butter, etc. If a substantial meal is desired, rump-steaks or mutton chops may be served, as also veal cutlets, kidneys, or any dish of that kind. In families where there is a nursery, the mistress of the house often partakes of the meal with the children, and makes it her luncheon. In the summer, a few dishes of fresh fruit should be added to the luncheon, or, instead of this, a compote of fruit or fruit tart, or pudding. —Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management
Lunch food varies. In some places, one eats similar things both at lunch and at supper - a hot meal, sometimes with more than one course. In other places, lunch is the main meal of the day, supper being a smaller cold meal.
Many people eat lunch while at work or school. Employers and schools usually provide a lunch break in the middle of the day, lasting as much as an hour. Some workplaces and schools provide cafeterias, often called canteens, where one can get a hot meal (in British schools female staff who serve lunch are often known as "dinner ladies"). In some work locations one can easily go out to eat at a nearby restaurant. Where these conveniences are not available it may be impractical to make lunch the main meal of the day. In these cases relatively simple foods might be packed in a container, such as a bag or a lunchbox, and taken to work or school. Many worksites are visited regularly by catering trucks, which provide lunch.


Brown bag lunch of a chicken salad sandwich, a pear, carrot sticks, and milk.
The quintessential bag lunch (also, brown bag from the brown paper sack used to carry it) in North America of the past has consisted of a sandwich and often a whole fruit and either cookies or a candy bar. But now, the near-universal spread of the microwave oven to the workplace since the 1980s has changed the nature of workers' lunches considerably. Leftovers from home-cooked meals, frozen foods, and a huge variety of prepared foods needing only reheating are now more common than the sandwich lunch.
A similar tradition exists in Britain, where schoolchildren and workers bring in a prepared lunch in a lunchbox. This will usually contain, at the least, a sandwich, a bag of crisps and a drink, possibly with a chocolate bar and some fruit. However, this is now changing in the workplace due to the ubiquity of small cafés in cities as well as the microwave. It remains common in schools and among builders where such facilities do not exist on-site.
In Australian primary and high schools, most children bring a lunch box that contains a morning snack for recess (usually fruit or a muesli bar) and a sandwich for lunch.
Lunches also serve as a popular reward in settling wagers. This is typical in an office setting where buying a coworker lunch to settle a wager is the normal method of payment. Generally there will be a cap on the amount the buyer should spend on the lunch.
On weekends in the United States it is popular to combine a late breakfast with lunch, called a "brunch". Brunches often feature more elaborate fare than ordinary breakfasts, and may include desserts and alcoholic beverages, such as mimosas, which are not ordinarily served with breakfast.
In French the midday meal is called déjeuner, taken between noon and 2 p.m. It is the main meal in the South of France. The evening meal is the main meal of the day in Northern France but lighter in Southern France, taken around 6 - 7 p.m. (North) or 8 (South), is called dîner or souper (which is also used for a night-time meal, usually after 11 p.m.).
Supper is the name for the evening meal in some dialects of English - ordinarily the last meal of the day. Originally, in the middle ages, it referred to the lighter meal following dinner, which until the eighteenth century was invariably eaten as the midday meal.
The term is derived from the French souper, which is still used for this meal in Canadian French, Swiss French and sometimes in Belgian French. It is related to soup. It is also related to the German word for soup, Suppe. (The OED, however, suggests that the root, sup, retains obscure origins. OED Online, Accessed 31 October 2007.)
In England, whereas "dinner", when used for the evening meal, is fairly formal, "supper" is used to describe a less formal, simpler family meal, but also the fairly formal variety in others. In working-class British homes, as in Australia and Ireland, "tea" can be used for the evening meal. In parts of the United Kingdom, supper is a term for a snack eaten after the evening meal and before bed, usually consisting of a warm, milky drink and British biscuits or cereal.
In Australian English, supper may refer to a late light dessert or snack (such as toast and cereal) had some time after dinner, or a warm drink such as Milo accompanied by biscuits. In New Zealand it is similar – generally cake and tea/coffee served later in the evening, particularly when people have visitors.
In most parts of Canada, "supper" and "dinner" are considered synonyms. In some areas either term may be rarely used. It is typically served between 6pm and 8pm. The only real requirement is it must be eaten after lunch, and must use a plate.
In rural areas of the United States Upper Midwest dinner is a larger noon-time meal, and supper is a lighter evening meal and similar to eating customs in northern Europe where most of the inhabitants originate from. Supper is the last of three to five daily meals: breakfast, (morning lunch), dinner, (afternoon lunch or "coffee") and supper. The main meal is between 11.30am and 1pm. Supper is usually lighter and often consists of bread with cold meat, cheese, soup, salads, fried potatoes, egg dishes and / or dairy products. The decline of typical Midwestern farm culture and urbanization of American language and habits has led to a change in Midwestern eating habits in the past thirty years. Supper is still usually considered lighter fare and a more casual setting, and may be served before a usual dinner time so that evening activities may be unaffected.
In Saskatchewan, and much of Nova Scotia, in Canada, "supper" means the main meal of the day, usually served in the late afternoon, while "dinner" is served around noon. "Dinner" may be used in some areas, such as Newfoundland and Labrador, only for special meals, such as "Thanksgiving Dinner" or "Christmas Dinner", while the noon meal is "lunch" and the evening meal "supper". For harvest meals put on by churches and other community organizations, the term used is "Fowl Supper" (features turkey) or "Fall Supper", never "dinner".
In Ireland, a "chicken supper" is a meal of chips, gravy, onions, peas and chicken breast.
Similarly in Scotland and perhaps elsewhere in the United Kingdom, such as in Ulster Scots, a fish supper is a portion of fish and chips. The word is used also as a modifier in this way for a range of other similar meals, such as a "sausage supper", "pastie supper", "haggis supper" and indicates the addition of chips.
In Germany supper is called Abendessen (evening meal) or Abendbrot (evening bread). The main meal ("Mittagessen" or dinner) is usually at noontime. Supper is generally eaten between 5.30pm and 8.30pm. In Poland supper is called kolacja, the meal is usually taken from 6pm to 9pm. The main meal (obiad) is usually at afternoon. In Germany as in Poland a variety of breads and rolls are served at supper. Cold meats, sausages, various sorts of ham, cheese, pickles, tomatoes, and other sliced vegetables are served with the bread. Usually one drinks water, fruit juices, beer or an everyday wine with this meal. In Poland Christmas Eve's supper is taken at evening on 24th of December, and traditionally contains 12 dishes.
In Portugal, Spain, Latin America, Asia and the Arab World, supper may be taken as late as right before sleep.
In the Philippines, supper or in Tagalog, hapunan, is taken from as early as 6 pm to 9 pm.
In Singapore, "dinner" refers to the first evening meal, while "supper" refers to the meal taken later in the evening after dinner, usually from 9pm to 12 midnight.
Breakfast is the first meal of the day. The word is a compound of "break" and "fast," referring to the conclusion of fasting since the previous day's last meal. Breakfast meals vary widely in different cultures around the world but often include a carbohydrate such as cereal or rice, fruit and/or vegetable, protein, sometimes dairy, and beverage.
Nutritional experts have referred to breakfast as the most important meal of the day. This is based on studies of the large numbers of people in the West who skip breakfast, to adverse effect on their concentration, metabolism and weight.[1][2]

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