Definition of a meal:
"A meal is an instance of eating, specifically one that takes place at a specific time and includes specific, prepared food.
Meals occur primarily at homes, restaurants, and cafeterias, but may occur anywhere. Regular meals occur on a daily basis, typically several times a day. Special meals are usually held in conjunction with such occasions as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and holidays.
• Traditional Valentines Food
A meal is different from a snack in that meals are larger, more varied, and more filling, while snacks are more likely to be small, high-calorie affairs; however, any food eaten in small amounts at an unscheduled time can be classified as a snack.
A picnic is an outdoor meal where one brings one's food, such as a sandwich or a prepared meal (sometimes in a picnic basket). It often takes place in a natural or recreative area, such as a park, forest, beach, or grassy lawn. On long drives a picnic may take place at a road-side stop such as a rest area.
A banquet is a large, often formal, and elaborate meal with many guests and dishes."
These are the most common set mealtimes in the Western-world.
• Breakfast: Breakfast is usually eaten within an hour or two after a person wakes up in the morning. • Lunch: Lunch is eaten around mid-day, usually between 11 am–2 pm. • Supper: Supper in the US and UK is a meal eaten in the evening. • Dinner: Dinner is the main meal of the day, regardless of whether it's at lunchtime or in the evening. Dinner also refers to the evening meal as a formal meal or just the evening meal in the south of England. • Dessert: Dessert is typically eaten after dinner as a treat. It may be considered a course within a meal or a meal itself. Cakes, pastries, fresh fruit, and ice cream are examples of common dessert food. ( National Dessert Day )
• Second Breakfast: Second Breakfast is a traditional midmorning meal served parts of central Europe. • Elevenses: also called "Morning Tea," is a drink and light snack taken late morning after breakfast and before lunch. • Brunch: Brunch is a late-morning meal, usually larger than a breakfast and usually replacing both breakfast and lunch; it is most common on Sundays. • Afternoon Tea: Afternoon Tea is a midafternoon meal, typically taken at 4pm, consisting of light fare such as small sandwiches, individual cakes and scones with tea. • High Tea: High Tea is a British meal usually eaten in the early evening.
Customs, tradition, and etiquette
"Customs and traditions regarding eating and meals vary from
country to country, as well as within countries, based on such
factors as regional differences, social class, education, and
religion. In a complex, multi-cultural society there is increased
risk of different customs and traditions clashing. What is correct
behaviour, and what is not, and in what circumstances is the
provenance of etiquette."
Examples of different customs and traditions:
• Food in some cultures is eaten from individual plates or bowls, while in other cultures people eat from a common one. Even where people tend to eat from individual plates, there may be exceptions, as in the case of some small pieces of food that can be held in the hand easily, such as cookies or some snack foods, where it is common to eat from a common plate, biscuit tin, or similar container.
• Different cultures might have different rules for eating the same item. In the USA people eat sausages in a bun, or with a knife and fork, while in some countries in Europe sausages are held between the fingers while being eaten.
• In some cultures, it is considered proper to wait until everyone is seated before starting to eat, while in other cultures it is not an issue.
• In some cultures it is considered proper to wait for the host to give the command before guests sit at the table for a meal, while in other cultures there are different rules.
• In some religions, people pray or read aloud from a religious text before and possibly also after eating. In diverse, religiously mixed company where some people might want to pray, and others might not, it may be proper etiquette to allow for a short time of silence allowing those who want to do so the chance to pray.
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