Come to dinner; I mean supper; Well let's just eat!
Posted by ElaineL on December 18, 1997 at 13:55:18:
I think I'm beginning to understand the confusion around what to call a particular meal. Pretty sure it was the book, "Jane Austen and Food," that talked about meal times and their names. Just a bite of trivia :)
During Jane's time breakfast was 9 or 10 o'clock with the next meal coming around 3 or 4 o'clock. It was called "dinner." Then it became more fashionable to eat that meal later in the day, say closer to 7 or 8 o'clock.
"Supper" was a lighter meal, sandwiches, porridge, etc. with syllabub to drink served later in the evening in the drawing room or other similarly more relaxed locations. The timing depended on when dinner had been consumed, but it was the last meal during the day.
So depending on the timing of "dinner," a family may or may not have eaten "supper."
In the mean time, workers in particular were known to take a light meal between breakfast and dinner, especially if dinner was to be late. This was sometimes referred to as "Nuncheon." (Which I think later became "luncheon") Was it Edward in Sense and Sensibilities that took "nuncheon?" So it wasn't exclusive to the working class.
The book made the point that meal times got to be rather confused and an occasion of snobbery/embarrassment if you were found to be eating too early. Seems London ate later and later, but some of the country elite still preferred the 5 o'clockish time. Just one more point of contention between the two worlds.
Posting followups to old messages is disabled; instead go to the main index and post a new message which mentions this one.