Lunch

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Common meals...
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Cuisine | Kitchen

Lunch is an abbreviation of luncheon, meaning a light midday meal<ref name="ety">Online Etymology Dictionary</ref>. In the modern usage the meal is a light portable meal carried with you to work or school, or a meal eaten at a caféteria, or the midday meal of any size.

During the eighteenth century what was originally called "dinner"— a word still sometimes used to mean a noontime meal in the British Isles, and in parts of the United States, Canada and Australia— 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.

In the United States, Thanksgiving dinner (and Christmas dinner) are still eaten at the old hours, usually between two and four in the afternoon.

Contents

[edit] Origin of the term

The abbreviation lunch, in use from 1823<ref name="ety"/>, is taken form the more formal "luncheon" <ref>OED gives a first usage in 1591.</ref>, which the OED reports from 1580, as a word for a meal that was inserted between more substantial meals.

In medieval England, there are references to nuncheon, a non hench 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 London, 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 London was four or five (McMillan). 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 (McMillan). Afternoon tea supplemented this luncheon at four o'clock, from the 1840s (McMillan).

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, &c. If a substantial meal is desired, rump-steaks or mutton chops may he 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

[edit] Practices

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.

Image:Lunch from Karnataka on a plantain leaf.jpg
Lunch from Karnataka served on a plantain leaf. See Image for extended descriptions.

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", but never "lunch 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. The quintessential bag lunch 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.

[edit] Purpose

Image:School lunch.jpg
Typical American school lunch

In addition to its primary purpose, lunch can function as a form of entertainment, especially on weekends; a particularly fancy or formal lunch can be called a luncheon. Such lunches can be served at a restaurant, as a buffet or potluck, or as a sit-down feast. These events are very similar to festive suppers. Lunch, both simple and fancy, often includes dessert.

Many nutritionists suggest that it is more appropriate to eat a large meal at lunch than it is to do so at supper, just before going to sleep, when the energy from the meal will not be properly used. An example of this style of meal can be found in the German, Brazilian and Scandinavian diet, whose lunch mostly is large and cooked (as opposed to, say, a sandwich).

In a full cricket match that lasts more than one day, there is a luncheon interval in each day's play, usually taken between 12:30pm and 1:30pm. In one day matches the break is taken between innings.


[edit] In other languages

Image:Lunch ny 1946.jpg
Two street vendors taking time out for lunch at a makeshift table of wooden crates covered with newspaper. New York, August 1946.

Continental French for "lunch" is déjeuner, in Quebecois French it is dîner. The Anglicism lunch means an invitational light meal usually eaten while standing and not necessarily around noon. It is offered for example in vernissages;

In Catalan language it is esmorzar .

In Chinese it is usually called 午餐 (midday meal). The Chinese also have a saying about the importance of lunch as the main source of energy in a day: "早餐吃得好,中餐吃得饱,晚餐吃得少" (at breakfast eat well, at lunch eat until full, [but] at dinner eat just a little).

In Bengali it is called "madhyanho bhojon."

In Danish it is called "frokost."

In Esperanto it is tagmanĝo (or lunĉo).

In Finnish it is lounas.

In German the main middle of the day meal is Mittagessen (mid-day eating) or Mittagbrot (mid-day bread in easterly German-speaking regions.)

In Greek it is γεύμα (pronounced yevma).

In Icelandic it is hádegismatur or hádegisverður.

In Italian it is pranzo.

In Japanese, it is "Hirugohan" (midday meal).

In Korean it is "Jum Shim."

In Portuguese it is almoço.

In Persian language/Farsi it is naahaar.

In Spanish it is almuerzo (or comida, which also means "food").

In Swedish it is lunch.

In Turkish it is ogle yemegi (midday meal).

[edit] Notes

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[edit] See also

[edit] References

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

es:Almuerzo eo:Tagmanĝo fr:Déjeuner he:ארוחת צהריים nl:Lunch nn:Lunsj ru:Обед sv:Lunch zh:午餐

Lunch

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