The Noble Ancestry of Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

People now-a-days are always screaming something new. If it’s not vegan this, its gluten-free that. No single diet reigns supreme on losing weight and now some crazies are preaching that ‘snacking’ throughout the day is better for you than your three square meals. Everybody’s always a critic. But our nation has always stood on the foundation of the three daily meals, right? Well…the answer is no. In fact, the origins of breakfast, lunch, and dinner dates to only 1890. To give you some history here’s a timeline of when the Western World began its eating habits.

16th century-


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Beginning in the sixteenth century, Anglo-Saxon tradition knew of only two meals- breakfast and dinner. Not surprisingly breakfast name came from its purpose, to just break the night fast. Breakfast started as nothing but a little snack with no fixed-menu and dinner was eaten around 11 a.m.!

2,000 years later-


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That little snack flash forwarded to a meal fit for nobility. A feast not just for the family, but for plenty of guests too. It was meant to be a social event which was held at 10 a.m. and could last until 1 p.m.



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Lunch is a relatively new social eating habit. First defined in Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary of 1755, lunch was first ” as much food as one’s hand can hold”.  About a hundred years later lunch was established during the heart of the Victorian age. The work day was divided into two parts. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. -LUNCH- 2 p.m.- 6 p.m.We have come a long way since then and lunch can feel like the biggest pig-out of the day.



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Spoiler alert: breakfast is no longer a four hour feast. The meal shrunk to humbler proportions and became a casual family affair around 8 a.m. Through the years dinner pushed further back on the clock. By 1850 dinner had moved up the ranks to be eaten at 7 p.m. or 8 p.m.

Now here comes 2013 wrapping up and this side of the world is basically eating the same way for now. Yet so much of ‘who- what-where-why’ to eat is being talked about more than ever. Change is constant. ‘Ye’ Olde’ days seem strange to you and I today, but what’s society to think of our eating habits tomorrow?

– facts via Dr. R. & L. Brasch’s, How Did it Begin


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