All is ‘tickety-boo’ – Feeding a nation


Pippin: “What about breakfast?”
Aragorn: “You’ve already had it.”
Pippin: “We’ve had one, yes. What about second breakfast?”
[Aragorn turns and walks off in disgust.]
Merry: “I don’t think he knows about second breakfast, Pip.”
Pippin: “What about elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them, doesn’t he?”
Merry: “I wouldn’t count on it.”

Well, I certainly didn’t. And when do you eat what actually? At school we had learned about the three main meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner – and the traditional afternoon tea of course. Upon moving to Britain though I had to learn that whereas breakfast, or brekkie, is definitely eaten in the morning (as is second breakfast and elevenses), you can have dinner at lunchtime; tea – and I’m not talking about Earl Grey, cucumber sandwiches and miniature cakes – early in the evening; supper with friends or a more formal dinner in the evening; and then again supper as a light snack before bedtime.

So imagine my face when for the first time an elderly lady I know through work asked me if I had had my dinner already. It was the middle of the day and I thought “now she’s completely lost it” (bless her, she’s in her 80s and sometimes forgets or confuses things). I just nodded and didn’t say anything. Or when in a casual conversation with a friend it turned out that he had tea when he got home and rarely ever snacked in the evenings. Only having a coup of tea? Didn’t he get hungry? If that was some sort of new diet it sure didn’t work…

It took me a while to figure things out and I have to admit that when I watched the above scene from “The Lord of the Rings” the next time, I looked some things up. What are elevenses exactly? And how many meals does it actually take to feed a Brit?


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