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THE BLOG

English Meal Times and Names

elegant dining
English meal times and names

English meal times and names can be very confusing at times!

'What is supper, Emma?" is a question that comes up regularly in my Elegant Dining Module, followed closely by, "Is the midday meal called lunch or dinner?"

Some of my clients have even arrived at someone's house as a guest to be served a meal entirely different from what they expected! So, if this has happened to you, you are not alone.

This article aims to educate you on the CORRECT English meal times and names and make you aware of alternative phrases so that you can hopefully interpret them and thus avoid any surprises.

 

LET'S BEGIN WITH THE CORRECT TERMINOLOGY FOR ENGLISH MEAL TIMES AND NAMES

  • 8 AM Breakfast
  • 11 AM Brunch
  • 1 PM Luncheon
  • 3.30 PM Afternoon Tea
  • 6.00 PM High Tea or Supper
  • 8.00 PM Dinner or Supper
  • 9.30 PM Supper

(It’s important to note that we don’t enjoy all these meals daily!)

 

BUT YOU MAY HEAR THE FOLLOWING TERMS USED INSTEAD:

  • 1 PM Dinner
  • 6 PM Tea
  • 8 PM Tea

 

WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR THESE DIFFERERING ENGLISH MEAL TIMES AND NAMES?

The reason dates back to many years ago when traditionally, the northern part of the UK was home to industrial cities, where many people worked in factories.

It was common during that period for employees to be offered a large meal at 1 PM, and so this quickly became known as ‘dinner time’ as it became the largest meal of the day, hence why lunch or dinner are used interchangeably.

However, when the workers returned home, they would enjoy a lighter meal of slices of bread, muffins, etc.; this was known as ‘high tea.’ Many people in the UK still call their luncheon ‘dinner’ and their dinner ‘tea,’ and now you understand why!

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