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Old 02-23-2006, 10:15 AM   #1
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Question Food in your daily way of life...

Every country has its own customs, and none of them is better than the others. I’m really curious, if you allow me, to understand how daily meals are organised in your countries.
A lot of things are changed in Italy in the last years, but usually the tradition says that an Italian guy has a breakfast in the morning with some coffee, or milk and coffee, and, but not always, some bread and marmalade. Often (I, f.i.) only coffee is assumed.
At noon (a lot depends from WHEN you have a pause in your job) you will assume a complete meal.
The complete meal is normally composed by a first dish of rice or pasta (about 80-100 gr a person), or soup, and a second dish of meat or fish (about 100 grams) with some vegetable. Then, a fruit.
The same happens in the evening, about at eight o’clock: something earlier in the north, something later in the South.
You can change the meat with some cheese, but generally this is the tradition. In the last years, something has changed, and we try to eat something less, not assuming one of the dish over written (of course, if you are 18 years old, may be you assume ALL of them in ONE meal…. with something to fill the hole at five p.m. ). When you have an official meal, with some guest, f.i., you add one or more entries to all this, and, of course, some cake.
I remember the Christmas meals in my grandmother’s house….seven, eight entries, two dishes of pasta, one dish of meat…then, an ice cream, and, again, a soup, another dish of fish, many cakes, dried fruit, and so on….
Thanks for your answers: I’ve travelled in some places, about all over Europe, and something in Asia, but I did never go over the Oceans…

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Old 02-23-2006, 10:54 AM   #2
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Wow. This topic should get very interesting. It's somewhat of a loaded question, simply because of all of the variance in lifestyles. I know some people that rush into a gourmet coffee shop for breakfast, eat some sort of fast food for lunch break, and throw something together quickly at home for supper/dinner. It all depends on time, and how much of it you allot for your daily activities.

A standard work day for me consists of a leisurely breakfast at home of an egg and cheese sandwhich on whole grain bread. This is sometimes accompanied by a bowl of cereal, depending on how big the void is upon return to consciousness. Then I make a cup of coffe to go, with some milk & sugar.

I work close enough that I can go home for lunch, so I usually have something better then fast food. Sometimes a sandwich and chips, or maybe leftover whatever from the night before. I'll sometimes cook some pasta if I have some sauce handy.

Supper is normally something cooked at home as well. Hot dishes/casseroles are fairly common at my house, but we have a reasonable variety of other dishes as well. Usually a meal is a meat, starch/rice, and veggie.

I do not snack much during the day if I can avoid it. If I have a smaller breakfast, I do, just to hold through lunch. I try to eat a larger lunch as supper is usually a bit longer away.

Does that cover what you are looking for?
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Old 02-23-2006, 11:25 AM   #3
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Effectively, a lot depends if you study or work, if you are a single or not, if you have babies or not....
It's impossible to cover all the cases you have. I simply would like to know the "tradition". What is "normal". It's difficult, for me, to explain well: I've already said that my english has big limits.... . I too use to have some fast food sometimes (my wife works herself, and maybe that none of us can come back home in time), and, effectively, at my age, I eat something less. But my FIL, f.i. eats every day the thigs I've said. And he is 84. My mother the same: 90. Whatever is our own use, this doesn't avoid that, generally, a meal is considered in a certain way. And assumed....once? twice? and when? In Holland, when I went there for the first time, I learned on my skin they practically don't eat at noon: only a little sandwich. I yet remember how much I was hungry that day.... . And, in the morning, fish, meat, vegetables, fruits....all things I left on the table, that day... . But I quicly learn: when I went in scandinavian countries, and I saw "smorsgarsbrood" for the first time......No exitation: I ate everything. No one knew if I could have something more, later.....
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Old 02-23-2006, 11:44 AM   #4
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I also noticed some significant differences depending on certain regions. We were in the north, Alto Adige (amidst Italian Alps, a part of Trentino, Stelvio to be exact)... most people start the day very early and finish the day very early, their average dinner time was like 18, and most of the restaurants were closed around 21, it was quite unbelievable for us coming from a big city. However majority of the people there live on agricultures, so I guess for them, people like us who would regularly eat our suppers at 23 or even midnight must be inconceivable...
Then in Palinuro, south of Naples, all the joints were hopping, people eating well past 1 in the morning, somewhat like the custome of southern Spain, where the restaurant wouldn't open until something like 21...
In Rome, the average lunch time is at 13, instead of midday, and for breakfasts biscuits/cookies, or cornetti (italian version of sweet croissants) are typical items to be eaten.

RDG, I had a little different experience in Holland, people had their main meal for lunch (eetsmakelijk!!) and very light dinner. For a nightowl like me it was quite strange so I remember that very well!! But I spent most of the time in a small city in the west called Zwolle, only a few days in Amsterdam, maybe that was particular to the folks in that region....
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Old 02-23-2006, 02:55 PM   #5
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Here in Germany it is also usual to have meal at lunchtime.
breakfast is bread/rolls with marmalade/jam, honey or cheese/quark. With it coffee or more in the north tea
typical "old fashioned" lunch has a soup, some main dish with mostly potatoes in any variety, some roasted meat and veggies.
evening meal, you can't call it dinner, is again some bread with meat, cheese and maybe pickles. With that comes beer or tea.

but even here today many things are different
the world comes togehter and so we adopt things and traditions from lost of different cultures, so everything is possible
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Old 02-23-2006, 05:38 PM   #6
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Here in the UK -I can only speak from my experience!

I eat a breakfast - porridge and toast with home made marmalade in winter during the week, with perhaps an egg at weekends.... toast and orange juice and a banana in the summertime.

Lunch: takeaway sandwich at my desk or a business lunch - which can be a buffet from the Faculty or in a restaurant - but usually a light meal.

Afternoon tea - approx once a week.

Dinner: our main meal of the day.
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Old 02-23-2006, 06:09 PM   #7
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Myself (therefore my family) follow the norm here in Australia, which is almost a carbon copy of Ishbel's...not suprising considering the UK ---> Australia heritage.

My breakfast is generally some form of cereal (whether it be weet-bix/vita-brix, allbran (a high fibre cereal), or some form of porridge or homemade muesli...all of the above with fruit/yoghurt).

For lunch it is generally a sandwich of some variety, but this will also be dictated by whether there are any leftovers from a previous night. But generally it is a fairly light meal (the exception being perhaps a day on the weekend when I'm with my girlfriend, then it might well be either a large breakfast/brunch/lunch (with the other meals adjusting accordingly) whether it is eating in or out. Also, lots of fruit within the day, and maybe a pop round to my local cafe for a coffee (45.3 seconds walk from my house...love it! Oh the fact that it is actually a good cafe is just sweet sweet icing).

I would have nothing against having a main meal at lunch, but it would be hard to make this change due to other members in the household (I am currently unemployed so I would have the luxury of doing this, but other members of my household work during the day so their lunch is dictated by work and personal eating habits).

Dinner, like Ishbel's situation, is the main meal of the day since it is most likely the only meal in which the household all share together (breakfast doesn't particularly count, especially with young children since it is generally a mad dash to the finish line). This is mainly dictated, I think, by each culture's attitude towards work. Is it common for workers in Italy, for example, to return home from work for lunch? This would make it easier to make lunch a larger focal point, meal and gathering wise, where in countries like UK/Australia (and the US I assume) workers do not generally return home until the end of the day.
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Old 02-23-2006, 09:06 PM   #8
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In the Philippines, it's traditional to have rice at every meal.

Here's a typical breakfast -

Fried fish, or adobo, or corned beef, or local sausages, or local cured meats
Rice in garlic (or fried in adobo sauce)
Egg (sunny side-up, or whole salted/preserved egg served with fresh tomatoes)
Typical condiments at the table are: fish sauce, vinegar, bird's eye chili.

Lunch & Dinner are always serious meals -

Steamed Rice with anything, typically 2 types of meat dishes and a vegetable dish. Soup.

Things are changing with the times. For breakfast, single working people just have coffee or nothing at all for breakfast. But if they have a maid or wife who doesn't work, then they get the works for breakfast and dinner. Lunch is usually in the office cafeteria or street corner restaurant. Even housewives and mothers are adjusting to the times. More and more, they reach for the convenience of processed foods like hotdogs, canned goods, instant noodles. Hopefully this will change with increasing awareness of unhealthy foods.
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Old 02-23-2006, 09:58 PM   #9
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The Chinese (from the southern part of China) traditionally have rice at every meal. For breakfast however, it's usually in the form of porridge, with side dishes of pickled vegetables, fermented bean curd, peanuts. Lunch and dinner are always serious meals with rice, a fish dish, a meat dish, a vegetable dish, maybe a soup. Snacks are typically buns with sweet or savory fillings, dumplings, or noodles. Chinese banquets are a different story altogether. They are usually 8 to 12 course feasts where people sit at round tables with a lazy susan. The first dish is usually cold cuts or warm appetizers, soup, then progresses to various elaborate entrees, from mushrooms, to various meats, to various seafood, with fried rice or noodles, with vegetables as accompaniment to most dishes. Then dessert.

The Thais love to eat. At any time of the day. As evidenced by the countless food stalls at most side streets in Bangkok, from morning 'til night. Breakfast can be simple affairs of noodles/rice, while lunch and dinner are always serious meals with several entrees with rice. They are serious snackers too, by most standards. And their snacks can range from something as simple as fresh fruits with sour condiments, or deep fried fish/shrimp cakes or grilled sausages or fish, or barbecued meats, or one-dish or one-bowl affairs such as rice topped with chicken, or fried rice with shrimp and various condiments, or fried noodles with shrimp/vegetables, or noodles in soup with fishballs/dumplings. It's a wonder they have any space in their tummies left for dinner!
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Old 02-24-2006, 11:37 AM   #10
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Philippines breakfast:

From top, clockwise: pineapple juice, pumelo (hard to see), grapes, pineapple, papaya, rice, pandesal bread, boiled eggs, smoked fish, longanisa sausage, and tomatoes.

We also often had leftover dinner or breakfast.
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