MEALS IN BRITAIN AND THE USA
The English are very particular about their meals and strictly keep to their meal times. They usually have four meals a day: breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner. Breakfast is from any time till 8 o’clock in the morning, lunch is between 12 and 2 p. m., afternoon tea is between 4 and 5 p. m. and dinner between 7 and 9 p. m.
People in different countries have different ideas about what is good to eat and what is the best diet for them. But Britain is a country where many people think that breakfast is a very rich meal. The usual English breakfast is porridge or cornflakes with milk or cream and sugar, bacon and eggs, marmalade with but-tered toast, rolls, tea or coffee. For a change they can have a boiled egg, cold ham, or perhaps fish. Tea is taken at breakfast more often than coffee. Some people, however, have just a cup of tea or coffee with a toast or something similar, a “continental breakfast”.
At midday everything is
stopped for lunch. Most offices and small shops are closed for an hour and the city pavements are full of people on their way to cafes, coffee bars, restaurants. Factory workers usually eat in their canteens. It never happens that they miss a meal or put it off till a more convenient time. The English like what they call good plain food: steak, roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and fish and chips. At lunch time they usually have cold meat and salad or fish often with potatoes or other vegetables, fish and chips, sausages and a sweet dish (an apple pie, a hot milk pudding, cold fruit salad, or ice cream).
It is common knowledge that the English are very fond of tea. They like to have “a nice cup of tea” 6 or 8 times a day, sometimes even more. From four to five the English have a very light meal called afternoon tea, but it can hardly be called a meal. It’s rather an occasion in the late afternoon at which they have a cup of tea and a cake or a biscuit. At the weekends afternoon tea is a special occasion. Friends and visitors are often invited to have a chat over a cup of tea. Some people have the so-called “high tea”. It’s a meal taken between five and six if a dinner is not taken in the evening. It is usually a more substantial meal than afternoon tea.
Dinner is the most substantial meal of the day. It is much like lunch and in many families it is the last meal of the day. It is usually eaten at 7 o’clock. The first course may be soup though the English don’t like it very much. The main course will often be fish or meat, and a lot of vegetables. The most typical meat is the traditional roast beef of old England, pork or veal chops or chicken. Some other dishes served as appetizers for dinner or for supper are different kinds of salads. The next course will be something sweet and often baked, such as a fruit pie. Last of all there may be cheese, often with biscuits.
Most British families go to restaurants on special occasions, like birthdays, or wedding anniversaries. British restaurants are not famous for their good food. Sometimes they offer only sausages and chips, fish and chips – chips with everything in fact. But there is a variety of restaurants of all nationalities in London and some other towns where you can choose food to your taste: Italian, French, Chinese, Russian and other restaurants.
Americans usually have three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. All these three meals are served almost at the same time as in Britain.
A usual breakfast in the United States is orange juice, toast and coffee, or juice and dry cereal with milk, or eggs.