Monday 23 April 2007

Meal Times

Here in the UK, people are always referring to tea time. What is tea time? Or more accurately apparently is when is tea time? The mealtimes in the UK has always confused me. When I asked for clarification I realised this isn't as easy as saying, 4:00 pm. It appears to be a matter of class and social standing.

Breakfast is rare and unremarkable (maybe the reason for the frequency). Other than a bowl of cereal or porridge, the Brits seldom do breakfast. They have an occassional fry up. This is usually to alleviate an wicked hangover. A fryup consists of a couple sausages, a couple strips of bacon, some baked beans, fried tomatoes, fried mushrooms, the greasiest fried egg and fried bread (a slice of bread fried in the fat of everything that came before it), all served with a couple slices of unbuttered barely toasted bread. Due to the relationship with breakfast being used as a cure for hangover, this fryup is served only on sundays and rarely before 10 am. Unless you are checked into a B&B, at which point breakfast starts at 8 and is over by 8:30. You gotta be precise about the timings.

My cousin, Janell, says that where she's from (rural Nebraska - just imagine corn field for as far as the eye can see for 360 degrees) breakfast around 7 in the morning, coffee time around 10 AM; dinner at noon; lunch around 4 and supper after dark. There’s no such thing as brunch. Brunch is for people who are too lazy to get up in time for breakfast.

So having written this post weeks ago and not finished it, it was sitting in my queue just waiting for some attention. And then I find this on digg.

It hasn't helped to clear up any of my considerable confusion stemming from Tea. You see, here in the UK they refer to coming round for tea. Now for me, this is a not drink served with milk in the UK. For the Brits it is a small meal. Not sure exactly what time it is supposed to be because this often depends on your position in the class structure.

The way I am coping with this all is simple: I ask you round to my house and specify what time I would like you to come and I tell you what we will be eating. Phew! Never thought having people over to share bread would be so darn difficult!


Janell said...

I'm having a hard time categorizing you. This post makes me think you are an American living in England, but most of the time I think you an Englishman who was accidently born in America.
Which do you think it is?

LaDawn said...

Hmmmmm, good question. I defy categorisation. And a topic for a future post!