Author Topic: Realative meal size as a function of time of day  (Read 1850 times)


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Realative meal size as a function of time of day
« on: February 28, 2010, 10:27:34 AM »
I think it's probably true for everyone around here that dinner is the biggest and most important meal of the day.  To me, it just makes sense that way, since it's the time of day when the whole family is around the table and it's kind of the "celebration" of the end of day.  It's a ritual, sacred thing.  I think that's pretty common in my culture.

So when I read about other cultures in which lunch in the biggest meal of the day, I always feel confused in a culture shock kind of way.  Did any of you come from a culture like this?  If so, I'd like to hear about it and what kinds of cultural circumstances gave rise to lunch being the biggest meal?

In addition to dinner being bigger than lunch, it was also frequently true for me that breakfast was bigger than lunch.  This was at my grandparents' house in South Georgia.  There, lunch was practically a throwaway meal to tide the working men over in between a big breakfast and a big dinner.  Breakfast was commonly eggs, sausage, bacon, grits, biscuits, and sliced red tomatoes from the garden.  It honestly seems a little decadent to me now, since nowadays breakfast's principal purpose in my life is to inject fiber into my diet.  My grandfather, cracker as he was, was world-traveled and had been to many different countries for vacations.  His comment about French breakfasts?  "French breakfasts SUCK!"  I remember reading a few years ago a comment somewhere, made by an Italian, who commented that he wasn't impressed with American cuisine in general but that he was very envious of our breakfasts.

Offline Foodgeek

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Re: Realative meal size as a function of time of day
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2010, 07:50:14 PM »
I tend to graze and not eat large meals in one sitting, unless it's a special occasion. Even when I go to restaurants, I often will eat half a sandwich for lunch and pack the other half away for later. If that's not an option, I simply leave what I don't want to eat on my plate and snack later. I probably eat at least 6 times a day, but in much smaller portions than you'd think would be a meal.

This is clearly not how I was raised. It has absolutely nothing to do with the way I ate growing up. When I was young, most of my breakfasts consisted of a bowl of cereal with milk, and then a good 4 hours between that and whatever I had for lunch, which wasn't very big or satisfying either. Because I have both lactose intolerance and low blood sugar, my stomach was literally eating itself to death by the time I got my school lunches in those days, and by dinner, I was ready to pass out from starvation.

In the old days, folks who grew up in the South not only ate hearty breakfasts, but they packed pretty substantial lunches as well, because it takes energy to keep working in the field all day. The Po' Boy was born because of this necessity. The type of work I do isn't quite as strenuous, though I'm always active, and I don't have to be really far away from a food source while I'm toiling away - this was true when I worked in restaurants as well - so it's easy for me to eat a little when I'm hungry, and actually detrimental to my mental acuity to eat large amounts in one sitting, as it tends to make me sleepy.

As far as dinner, I try to make it as special as possible for my husband, because he loves my cooking and we enjoy sharing this meal together. I still don't have to eat an enormous amount on regular nights, and I enjoy it just as much as if I were to eat 60% or more of my caloric allotment for the day at that time. Probably more, actually.

My favorite breakfast involves eggs, and even if I have to be out the door by 7:30, if I want them, I cook them.
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Offline The_Scientist

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Re: Realative meal size as a function of time of day
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2010, 09:47:47 AM »
Lots of things about me drive people to distraction, and one of them is my tendency to go long periods without eating.  A bowl of cereal in the morning will keep me going until lunch.  Because I like to do a treadmill workout after work, I usually don't have dinner until 8 or later.  My darling loving wife is convinced this is not healthy, perhaps because this schedule would never work for her.

It does leave me plenty hungry by dinnertime though.  I probably get half my calories then.  It helps that she is such a crazy good cook, loves to try new recipes and gets a lot of gratification from having such a receptive dining partner. 

Hope all this goo-goo talk isn't putting people off their stomachs.  :-*
"Crayons taste like purple" - Tardy the Turtle


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