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Dinner Time


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I just noticed a back and forth about how it was a shame that a certain meal couldnt start at 5:30 with a comeback of 8:30 would have been better....and many people trying to get a Hot reservation call 5:30 cocktail hour not dinner time.

Growing up we ate at 4:30...dinner yes 4:30 pm Grandpa left for work at 5:15pm

In the many years since then I have managed to push myself back to maybe 5:30 on a perfect day 6 if I am running late cooking.

I mean, I eat breakfast at 6:30 am at my desk and lunch is at high-noon.

If "everyone" wants to eat dinner at 9pm, when are they eating breakfast and lunch or do you add an extra meal....around when I eat dinner?

just wondering

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I was always under the impression people in the US ate dinner around 6:00 (give or take an hour). :huh:

I always felt like a freak when I was younger because we ate dinner late (more like 9:00), likely because my (Asian) mother was used to eating dinner late. One of the few people who didn't think it was weird was a friend of mine who was born in Hong Kong, who also was accustomed to late dinners. I didn't really like to tell people I was eating that late, because they reacted to it like it was strange.

When I've cooked for myself (such as when I was at school), I usually ate around 6 or 6:30. I've only sporadically eaten breakfast in the last few years, because I'm slow in the mornings, though sometimes I'd remember to bring a little plastic container of cereal with me. I usually snack on things throughout the day, because I can't ingest that much at a time and I seem to be perpetually hungry, needing food every few hours. Depending on how hungry I was and how big my dinner was, I'd sometimes eat dinner at 6 and then eat a significantly-sized snack that borders on a small dinner at 9 or 10 (especially when, at school, I was going to bed at 2am... but then again I was waking up at 9 or 10am).

Edited by feedmec00kies (log)

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Dinner is anywhere between 7 and 9 p.m. Tending towards the latter during the summer, when we're outside enjoying the day. When we eat late, we usually put out some sort of nibble around 5ish. Baked brie, or something that holds people over till the later dinner.

Growing up, as I recall, dinner was around 5:30 or 6. After my parents has their requisite 2 pre dinner cocktails in the living room. :biggrin:

Marlene

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When we were two adults, dinner was usually 6:30 or 7, because that's how long it took to get dinner ready. ( I worked later then).

When I lived in Miami, dinner was at 8-ish. In general, San Diego dines earlier than Miami does.

Now there's a smallfry who's ravenous at 5:30, so that's when dinner is. My husband leaves for work at 6:30, and I'm up in the morning at 5, so it works for all of us. If we are going out for a later meal, we'll have a late lunch that day.

Its a pain in the ass if we're going to a show or concert. Many start at 7, but there are few places to eat after 10. So, eat early or eat tacostand.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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My experience has been that early dinnertimes are more common in the American Midwest, and I think this tradition may be a holdover from more agrarian times.

Growing up in Boston, we typically ate dinner sometime around 7:30 or so -- and I didn't have the sense that this was particularly late. It seemed like almost everyone I knew started dinner sometime between 7:00 and 8:00. It was only when I went to college in Wisconsin that I encountered the phenomenon of dinner at 5:00 or 6:00.

In a two-income family, I don't see how it would be possible to have dinner on the table by 5:00 or 5:30 anyway. When is there time to cook?

Personally, I rarely have more than a cup of coffee with perhaps a piece of toast for breakfast on weekday mornings, and I like to have lunch at around 1:30. After that, I really don't find that I'm all that hungry for a meal again until 7:30 or later.

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Growing up, we never ate dinner till after 8pm, due to my dad's schedule (pediatric practice) and parental preference. This prepared me, although I didn't realize it at the time, for living on Spain time. Dinner here starts, at the very earliest, at 9pm, and more often not till 10pm or thereafter, especially in summer. Actually, last night we went to an opera that started at 9pm, so didn't eat dinner till midnight.

I eat breakfast (well, I use the term "eat" loosely here, I mainline coffee for breakfast) around 10 or 11 am, usually, lunch anytime between 2 and 4 depending on my schedule.

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Prior to independence, dinner was usually around 5:30 as my mother was home from work no later than 3:30. My father traveled constantly, so we never had to worry about him...heh.

Breakfast for me consists of yogurt at my desk around 8:30-9:00. Lunch is whenever I have time; which generally leads to the lack of an appetite until around 7:30 in the evening.

To second slkinsey's comment above; being a two income family is not conducive to having dinner ready by 6:00 p.m. I just cannot put something tasty and healthy on the table in 30 minutes.

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We eat dinner around 6:30-7:30 in the summer and earlier in the winter.

It's almost 4:30 and I'm feeling hungry so this will be one of the earlier nights.

When I was growing up we ate whenever Dad got home, usually around 6:00.

Mom always cooked us breakfast so I still can't do without breakfast. Breakfast around 7:30 and then have lunch at 11:00 because that's when I get hungry again.

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Why is eating dinner later somehow considered more "urbane" or fashionable? Just a side question; no one has mentioned that in this thread.

Growing up, if I recall correctly, we ate around 5:30 or 6pm. I think I carried that through college - until my junior year abroad, when my host family in Tours, France ate at ostensibly 7:30pm but in practice closer to 8pm, and that seemed impossibly late to me and I was always ravenously waiting for dinner time.

In Paris, people tend to eat around 8:30pm. Except me and my boyfriend, who is French but fortunately has a hearty fork and usually will dive into a bag of cheese doodle-thingies and a glass or two of wine if I don't put dinner on the table around 7pm!

That said, I think in the country, people tend to eat earlier. I used to spend a lot of time on a farm in the Berry. We usually invited the neighbors, an older couple of farmers, over for dinner once or twice while we were there. In the summer, they would show up at 8:30pm. Then we were there in the winter, invited them, and were shocked to hear the doorbell ring at 7pm! Their schedule was based on how long it was day out.

Edited by sharonb (log)
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My parents' place conditioned me to expect dinner at 5pm. I've managed to recondition for 6:30, but I can't go any later without wanting to kill someone.

In France, typical dinner hour is 10pm and by that time I believe I'd be on my fourth victim -- especially if I was actually IN France having to wait that long for dinner.

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Growing up my family ate at around 5. 6 was extremely late. It always somehow seemed weird to me. I much preferred the later (7 pm) dinner times at some of my friends' homes or when we went out to eat at a fancy restaurant.

Now, my husband and I eat quite late. Usually after 8, if not 9 in the winter. Often in summer, when we're busy in the garden, we don't eat until 10 or later. When it's light until nearly 9 at the solstice, you don't even think about eating until dark. Luckily we're late night people (and certainly not early risers unless we absolutely have to). When mom comes to visit, we always have to compromise for a 7 or 8 o' clock meal. Interestingly, my brother also turned into a late eater.

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Interesting topic!

Growing up, dinnertime was promptly at 5:30. My paternal grandmother used to have a farm, and my dad was used to getting up with the chickens and eating early!

When I left the nest (and before I got married), I'd eat dinner around 6:30 or so.

Now, when we eat at home, it's more like 7:30, because that's what my husband is accustomed to. If we dine at 7:00, he thinks it's "early"! If we go out to a restaurant, however, we're more likely to make the reservation for 6:30 so our main course will be on the table by 7:00 or 7:30. The European custom of dining at 9:00 to 10:00 pm has me ravenous and wondering how people avoid having heartburn every night.

My daughter usually gets home from school before 3:00 pm so has an afternoon snack before dinner; I'll often snack myself later in the afternoon so I can hold out.

SuzySushi

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I serve my husband his supper at 7:00-ish. I can no longer remember what time I ate my evening meal as a little girl. If I could remember what time Little House on the Prairie or Bewitched was on during the seventies perhaps I'd get a clue. :rolleyes:

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The European custom of dining at 9:00 to 10:00 pm has me ravenous and wondering how people avoid having heartburn every night.

The eating late is only a problem if you have to go to sleep early. The usual recommendation is to finish eating at least 2 hours before going to sleep. I'm rarely asleep before midnight and often much later than that, so for us it works. But on days I teach at 9 am, we eat closer to 8 rather than 10, so I can get to sleep by 11.

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Anna, in my experience the standard recommendation -- and I've heard this from many, many medical professionals -- is three hours. Here's a reference from AstraZeneca's Nexium website:

Avoid lying down after eating.

When you lie down within three hours of eating, the acid that’s working to digest your food may flow up into your esophagus and cause heartburn. To avoid this problem, plan an early dinner and don’t snack within three hours of bedtime.

I don't know about everybody else, but there are some other things we occasionally like to do before bedtime that can sometimes involve lying down. So when you add up all that time, and you want to get to bed by 11-12, and you want to have a leisurely meal, a relatively early dinner makes a lot of sense from the standpoint of physical comfort.

We had a topic awhile back on the advantages of dining early in restaurants. It's easier to get reservations, you have your pick of tables, they're never out of anything, the restaurant is quiet, you have more of the waitstaff's attention, etc.

Growing up, we always had dinner at 6:15pm, at least until I was about 12 and started procuring a lot of my own meals. As a teen and twenty-something, I ate according to a lot of different patterns. For example, in freshman year of college, where you're at the mercy of dining-hall hours, and you go to college in Vermont, you eat pretty early whether you like it or not. When you're an associate at a big New York law firm, you eat late -- very late -- most nights, and then you go back to work. I've always had a natural preference for early dinners, and since having a baby a couple of years ago we've pretty much gone back to 6:15 as the set mealtime at home. That allows enough time to have as leisurely a meal as our son will tolerate at age two, then do bath and stories and deal with various delay tactics before 8pm bedtime.

I cook dinner most of the time if we're having dinner at home. For the most part, on a normal evening, I allow 45 minutes: I start preparing dinner at 5:30pm and have it on the table at 6:15pm. My wife and son usually go out to the playground or wherever for an hour or so right before dinner, and I have dinner waiting for them when they get home. If necessary, though, I can make a good-quality dinner in 15 minutes. We always have things like soup, chili, meatballs, ragu and stew in the freezer, so I just put something like that on to reheat, make a salad, toast some bread and we're all set. If I know in the morning that I'll need to make dinner in a compressed time-frame, I can take stuff out to defrost and also make rice ahead of time in the rice cooker.

Of course we dine out a lot and also order takeout a lot. Sometimes we have a late dinner (just the other day I went out with a friend for a 10:30pm reservation), it's no big deal, but I prefer early. We're also lucky in that we both work at home (and all four of our parents were teachers) so early dinner has always been do-able in our families. If I wanted to spend three hours cooking dinner every night, I could, and on occasion I do (especially when entertaining) but I prefer to do a full day of cooking once in awhile, stock the freezer, and not spend a ton of time cooking for everyday meals.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
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Why is eating dinner later somehow considered more "urbane" or fashionable?

Because it's European.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Dinner time in the Fahning household is whenever Paul gets home and I can get it on the table. Much later in the summer when we're on the deck and we actually have light after 4:00 pm.

Oh, and then, if one is fixing a new recipe, there's the "cook for" and actually done times...

But, we always sit and eat as a family.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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:cool:

On the average work day:

Breakfast -- yogurt and fruit (currently farmers' market berries), inhaled before a 7 - 7:05 a.m. departure for the train.

Lunch -- inhaled in front of the office computer, usually soup or roasted-vegetable salad (hello, weekend leftovers!), or sandwich plus piece of fruit, around noon.

Dinner -- grocery shopping at 6 p.m. on arrival at train station near home; cooking from point of arrival at home (7 or 7:15, give or take) until dinner between 8 and 8:30. Dinner is often cobbled together from results of weekend shopping as well; when no shopping is necessary, dinner is around 7:30.

On weekends or in vacation time:

Early meal -- cooked cereal with fruit, juice, coffee with news, 10:30 or 11 a.m. after sleeping in.

Late meal -- appetizer around 6 p.m., homecooked main course at about 7:30 p.m., cheese course or sweet dessert (it depends; not usually both) around 9 p.m.

Dishes get washed around 9:30 or 10 p.m. in any case. Getting up to see the piled-up results of previous-night debauchery is depressing on a dark, cold winter morning.

:biggrin:

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-- 2/19/2004

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Why is eating dinner later somehow considered more "urbane" or fashionable?

Because it's European.

Not Dutch, though.

When living at home with my parents, we had dinner at 6:30 which is relatively late for Dutch standards (6:00 would be considerd the most ´normal´). When I went and lived on my own I may have had a brief stage of rebellion when I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, but now I´ve gone back to a more regular pattern :smile:

I have breakfast around 7:30, lunch around noon, and dinner around 6:30, 7:00. After the noon lunch, and almost no snacking in the afternoon besides maybe some fruit, I´m REALLY hungry by then. And I get REALLY cranky when for some reason I don´t get fed around that time. I mean, really, really cranky :laugh:

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