What does dinner mean to you? In America, dinner has come to mean the meal that usually occurs in the early evening hours and is the family meal. In other countries around the world, dinner is a bit different. Not only does dinner usually occur later in the evening, but the amount of food eaten is also different. Even the eating area is usually quite different from that of Americans.
Time of Day
In many areas of the world, dinner is served late in the evening. For example, those in Nepal, France, and Spain eat dinner between 7PM to 10PM. In some countries, it is normal to nap during the evening hours and then wake for dinner and a night out on the town. In Greece, dinner is usually served when the sun starts to set and the temperature drops. Regardless, it’s plain to see that most countries eat dinner much later in the evening than Americans.
Another common occurrence throughout the world is that dinner is usually a smaller meal with the main meal occurring during lunchtime hours. A big exception to the rule is France. The French choose to eat up to 7 courses during their late evening dinners. Most countries prefer small meals of soup and snack-like foods, such as tapas.
Dinner Table or Floor?
Americans are known for gathering around the family table or crashing in front of the TV during dinnertime. A number of other countries choose to dine on the floor, some choosing to sit in a meditating position. In Greece you will find family like dinners that Americans are accustomed to. Dishes are placed in the center of the table for the family to share and the family breaks and shares bread together.
Types of Food Eaten
The types of food vary from country to country. While the Greeks may dine on heavier dishes and the French may eat as many as 7 courses of rich food, other countries opt for small meals. In some countries the foods consumed during lunch and dinner are roughly the same, only the quantity is different.
What we think of as dinner is certainly not what many others countries think of. While we end our evenings with a big family dinner, most countries choose to have a bit of recreational fun before dinner begins. Some may even have a snack around 5PM, take a nap, and then get up to enjoy a night of tapas and dancing. Who knew that one word could mean so many different things to different cultures? The next time you sit down to eat, consider how others around the world may be enjoying their meals.
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