Sunday, 15 May 2011

Northern Meal Times

To clear up any confusion that I and my northern blog commentors have caused to Michela (and any true "southerners" who may never have ventured this far north, let me explain our mealtimes.

Breakfast - eaten when you get up. Dress code - either still in your pyjamas, or whatever you have put on to wear for that day.
Can consist of Cereals, toast, eggs, porridge etc if you are in a rush. If you are lucky, a bacon buttie or full English breakfast starts the day off very nicely.

Nice cup of tea (or coffee in this case) and a biscuit - and a sit down. Eaten around 11am Dress code - whatever you are wearing in your everyday life.
"Elevenses" is a bit of a fancy title not usually used around these parts
Dinner - eaten between 12 noon and around 2.30pm . Dress code - still your work clothing.
Ideally this would be your main meal of the day, but for most of us, this usually consists of a sandwich, salad, cuppa soup or similar eaten at a desk. Whatever you eat after your savoury, would be called "a pudding" not "dessert". We don't use the word "lunch" (remember, Lunch is for wimps!!). In Yorkshire, this type of light dinner is sometimes referred to as "snap" and taken to work in your "snap tin".
Tea - eaten when you get home from work. Dress code - You will have taken your work clothes off and slipped into something more comfy.
If you only had a snack at dinner time, then you would have "a big tea".
If you were going out to a restaurant for the evening, you would be going out either "for a meal" or "for an evening meal".
Supper - served around 9pm but only if you had a little tea, or if you are a teenage boy. Dress code - ALWAYS in you pyjamas.
Teenage boys pile an arrangement of food on a plate at this time - toast, yogurts, apples, sometimes a couple of bowls of cereals - whatever they can make easily themselves. Hubby and I sometimes have cheese and biscuits (and pickled onions!!)
When I was little, we used to have a couple of Ritz crackers and a glass of chocolate Nesquick in summer, Ovaltine or Cocoa in winter . In Stuart Maconies book "Pies & Prejudice" he tells an hilarious story about when he moved from Wigan to London and a producer friend invited him round "for supper". He couldn't understand why they wanted him to go round to their house in his dressing gown for warm milk and digestive biscuits in front of their telly.

I know this may sound strange, and I laughed at myself for a good 10 minutes when I typed "big tea"!! But this is how we roll in the north.

33 comments:

The Girl said...

Aaah but I'm a bit of a rogue. A Northerner who talks about lunch and dinner!

Rowan said...

I really enjoyed reading this:) I'm afraid I'm a lunch wimp these days but when I started thinking back to my childhood I remembered that it was always breakfast dinner and tea in our house too. I'd forgotten that. Supper was always a bowl of cornflakes when I was a teenager but now I take a mug of Ovaltine Lite to bed with me.

driftwood said...

I grew up in Yorkshire but with parents who were from the south, so we ended up with a mealtime mishmash; lunch at noon, and tea in the evening, dinners were posh do's for grown ups. my hubby is from Cumbria and I was truly appalled when he described snap as bait, and the container as a baitbox, I still have visions of a meal of maggots.....

Nic B said...

Brilliant.....when I worked at Lombard....bloke on my team used to ask customers to phone back at "tea time"....had very in depth discussions around what time was "tea time??" Depending on where you lived......my son will not go to bed if he has not had supper.....hubby still has a glass of milk and biscuit each night and he is 44!!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Oh no lunch is NOT for wimps it is a light meal either eaten at home or at work. Tea is for wimps, who wants to get fat with 4 meals a day!! Dinner is the main meal simply because there is no time to eat while you are working. As soon as we are retired LUNCH will be our main meal and dinner will be the light meal. LOL OK so do we agree to disagree :-) the other Diane

jennyfreckles said...

Ah ha, so true and beautifully explained. My ex was a Scot and they had 'high tea' at 5-6 pm - hot food (maybe fish and chips, with bread and butter) followed by cakes with a cup of tea. Not at all the same as 'afternoon tea' which is served in posh hotels (pot of tea, delicate sandwiches and cakes).

Lucy said...

Ahh I love a good dialect discussion! Like Driftwood's hubby, it's 'bait' in Teesside as well, and I would never say pudding or dessert - it's 'afters'!!! :D

Oh and your plate of cheese, crackers and pickled onions has my mouth watering!

two bones and a bagle said...

Yep same in our house Diane brekkie dinner and tea. Do you have dilute with yours? Ha ha that often causes people to raise an eyebrow as they have no idea what you are talking about. Mr Two Bones did have to refine himself somehat when he was in the RAF - they had tea and tiffin at 4 pm everyday - he had a cleaner for his room as well. Lucky bugger I was at home with three little ones doing it all whilst he was having tea and tiffin. Pah!

Lyn said...

excellent post, made me giggle. I'm with you Diane, breakfast, dinner,tea and supper. although the children at school do say lunch but we still have Dinner Ladies!
xxx

Simone said...

Great post Diane. I am from down south and I have breakfast, lunch and dinner. The pudding course that follows dinner is referred to as 'afters'! x

Jayne said...

Lyn makes a good point - at school we had dinnerladies, but it was known as lunchtime. And I love what you say about 'big' tea. It's like saying the 'big' light for the main ceiling light - we've always said 'put the big light on' and it was only when I saw Peter Kay's stand up routine about it when I realised it was a bit of an odd saying!

Little Blue Mouse said...

I must admit I don't have supper myself but the kids do.
When I was little I remember at my Aunty's they had loads for supper, the table was heaving.

ChrisJ said...

" Oh what a tangled web we weave..." All these name for meal times have tied me up in knots for years. I lived in Yorkshire, had parents who were southerners, married a Liverpudlian, moved to Canada, then the mid-west of the USA then down to Southern California. Let me tell you they all have their own way of doing things and their own names for what meal you are having. Being down here for almost 40 years, we have settled on breakfast,lunch and dinner. Do I spy Wheatabix in one of those photos? And those roast potatoes look delicious.

mlh79 said...

For me it's breakfast, dinner (but sometimes lunch), tea and supper, although I don't really have supper these days. When I was younger it was a bowl of cereal before bed, and as I got older I started to copy my dad and have cheese and crackers or cheese on toast.

My boyfriend grew up not far from South Yorkshire, and he and his family refer to food in general as 'snap', which I'd never heard before. I remember going into a pub (I think it was in North Yorkshire) and he asked the barman if they served snap. He got a funny look!

Another debate is the whole teacake / breadcake / bap one! Also, fishcakes from the fish shop (the fish and potato ones in batter, not those mushy ones in orange breadcrumbs). My boyfriend calls them 'turnovers', which seems to be another South Yorkshire-ish term...

ChrisJ said...

P.S. I came to you from Rowan's blog and have just finished scrolling through some of your earlier posts. So beautiful and so interesting. Will be back again.

Janet said...

That took me back ! my gran always made us supper- like you -cheese and biscuits or jam sandwiches who ever has those nowadays ? have a lovely week x

Em said...

Definitley dinner and tea in my house too!!!
Packed lunches round our way are known as snap too but my Gran who was from West Yorkshire used to call it 'jock' and my scottish other half would call it 'pieces'.
When we lived in Scotland the snack the kids took to school for playtime was always called their 'play piece'...
Em xxx

Rosie said...

Oh good, I'm glad you followed this up after your last post. I must read the Stuart Maconie book it sounds hilarious. Poor Michela must be confused with all our differences! My Dad used to take his snap to work everyday in Derbyshire but here in the Potteries it is/was called 'snappin' and could be breakfast, dinner or tea depending on what shift you were on. My neighbour always asks 'what yer havin' for yer tea?' Great post, I've really enjoyed it:)

Kathy said...

Breakfast dinner and tea in our house too, but lunch time in school with dinner ladies!!!

Do you have lolly ices or ice lollies? That's another can of worms!

Winterwood said...

I grew up in the south - nr London and we said tea too for the meal we had at 5-6pm. Loved this post, but found that we dont differ that much south or north! well perhaps a few things...
now over here in OZ we say going out for tea... meaning going out for a meal. But... I would never eat bread and butter with fish and chips.
And yes brought back memories of the dinner ladies at school!

Lisa said...

Never heard food referred to as snap, that's a new one on me!
We have breakfast,lunch and tea down here in our house.
Lisa x

50 and still trying to be Frugal .... said...

I have breakfast, lunch and tea. If it was just me, I would not cook in the evenings but have a big lunch - but with a household full of men - not possible!!
I have not eaten supper for years and don't have anything to drink after 21.00 now either!!
Sue

Jean said...

Brilliant post ! Very amusing and accurate !!
Our meals in Derbyshire were the same until I left our little village to go to University - I couldn't understand what meals were supposed to be any more but ended up adopting the "light lunch and proper dinner" routine to fit in with everyone else and seem to have stuck with it.
You have reminded me how much I used to enjoy "supper", curled up on the settee in my pyjamas enjoying a couple of home-made buns and mug of cocoa ("hot chocolate" is another posh term I'd never heard until I went to uni.)
You have also reminded me how much I enjoyed reading "Pies and Prejudice" - must dig it out and read it again !!

Me and Tilly Too said...

Hi Diane, brilliant post! I've lived in the south all my life, (way south of the M4) and in our house we always had breakfast, dinner and tea. Supper was a bedtime drink of warm milk, Ovaltine, hot chocolate or Horlicks. Lesley x

Susan T said...

Sorry I all over the place with this one, born in Ireland. Grew up in Kent. One parent a Northern Lass, of Irish and Midland stock. The other a Southern Lad of Yorkshire and Scottish stock.

Now live in Lancashire - married a Lancastrian.

So I haven't a clue what to call anything really!!!! it depends on the weather.

All I know is I have started to call a cuppa a brew. So many years in the North.

Michela said...

Ha ha, I need to take some days off from work now for reading your meals etiquette and all the 25 comments above mine!
I had "lunch" in London and "packed lunch" in Norwich..now before I'm going to write a swear word, I must check the meaning of "wimps".... :D
xxxxxxx

Mister D said...

Snap and Scran are common around these parts also - healthy looking food you have there.

Ms B. Thrift said...

I so love this! I remember much confusion (and slight snobbery) when I went to uni (In Sheffield) and some of my fellow students were bemused about the tea/lunch/dinner debate, often as it was in a communal canteen they'd even call tea "lunch" as it was like a school lunchtime? They weren't amused! LMAO!

Amanda said...

I'm from Stoke and we have breakfast, dinner, tea and supper. My daughter has dinner but its in 'lunchtime' at school and when shes home its dinnertime.

I run a slimming club and because its very mixed with people from all over when I talk about meals I refer to breakfast, lunch and evening meal. Of course you then get night workers who have breakfast at dinnertime, dinner at suppertime and tea at bedtime...

Great post.

Jacquie said...

Hi Diane , in West Yorkshire we had Jock ( packed lunch ) in a Jock box . I hadn't heard of snap till I came to Notts.
I refuse to do the Lunch and dinner thing . It will always be Dinner and Tea to me . This confuses my kids, but they call it school Dinners ????? :0)
I always have a bowl of cerial for supper .
Great post
Jacquie x

rex said...

I saw many banquet halls,in my life . But few month ago i join my friends engagement party in Richmond hill country club.This clubs banquet hall are awesome . our friend circle like this banquet hall.

Elizabeth said...

Bah 'eck, lass, ahm reet glad thoo's put folk right on all o' this. x

lazylol said...

Your post made me LOL!!

Yes we only have supper if we haven't had a 'big tea'. I liked staying at my Grandma's when i was a kid. She gave us Ovaltine and Cream Crackers with coleslaw for supper.