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Before you read:

How many meals a day do Englishmen have? What is specific about English breakfast? At what time do Englishmen have lunch and dinner?

The usual British meals are breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner; or in simpler homes - breakfast, dinner, tea and supper.

Breakfast is generally a bigger meal than you have on the Continent, though some English people like a "continental" breakfast of rolls and butter and coffee. .

But the usual English breakfast is porridge or "Corn Flakes" with milk or cream and sugar, bacon and eggs, marmalade (made of oranges) with buttered toast, and tea or coffee. For a change you can have a boiled egg, cold ham, or perhaps fish.

They generally have lunch at about one o'clock. The businessman in London usually finds it impossible to come home for lunch, and so he goes to a cafe or a restaurant where he has cold meat, potatoes, salad and pickles, with a pudding or fruit to follow. Sometimes he has a lamb chop, or steak and chips, followed by biscuits and cheese, and some people like to drink up a glass of light beer (ale) with lunch.

Afternoon tea can hardly be called a meal, but it is a sociable occasion, as friends often come in then for a chat while they have their cup of tea, cake or biscuit.

Some people in England, in Lancashire in particular, like high tea. They have it between five and six o'clock, and they have ham or tongue and tomatoes and salad, or a kipper, or tinned salmon, or sausages, with good strong tea and plenty of bread and butter. After that they have stewed fruit, or a tin of pears, apricots or pineapple, with cream or custard, and pastries or a good cake.

In some houses dinner is the biggest meal of the day. They begin with soup, followed by fish, roast chicken with potatoes and vegetables, a sweet fruit and nuts, and coffee.

But in a great many English homes they make the midday meal the chief one of the day, and in the evening they have the much simpler "supper" - an omelette, or sausages, sometimes bacon and eggs and sometimes just bread and cheese, a cup of coffee or cocoa, and fruit. At any time between 10p.m. and midnight they may have their "nightcup" - a drink with a snack - and then off to bed.

Understanding British meals and mealtimes is one of the great mysteries to a visitor from abroad. Over the centuries the British have shown a tendency to name and rename their meals, and to move them about the day. Further to confuse outsiders, they give different names to each meal depending on their social class and part of the country they live in.

Breakfast, which was once taken at 5 o'clock in the morning, can now be at any time before11.30. It has thus overtaken dinner. In Norman times - the 12th century - dinner was at 9 a.m.; by the 15th century it had moved to 11 a.m.; and today it can be eaten at any time between noon and 2.30 p.m. and is called lunch by a large proportion of the population, especially the middle and upper classes and people from southern Britain. Many farm labourers, however, who start their work at sunrise and have breakfast before they go to work, still stop for a lunch break at about 9 o'clock.

In the 14th century, supper was at 4 o'clock - which is now called teatime. But outside the south-east of England, working families have tea or high tea at about 6 in the evening while the rest of their fellow-countrymen have dinner, which is also called supper, at about 7.30 p.m.



1. Find the equivalents to the following words and phrases from the text and write them down:

для разнообразия, маринад, отбивная из мяса ягнёнка, консервированный лосось, едва ли можно назвать, во многих домах, большая загадка, (простой) рабочий.

2. Answer the questions:

  1. What are the usual British meals?
  2. What do you know about English breakfast? What does it usually consist of?
  3. Where do usually Englishmen have their lunch?
  4. What do you know about afternoon tea?
  5. What is the chief meal of the day?
  6. Why is it one of the great mysteries to a visitor from abroad to understand British meals and mealtimes?

3. Read the following statements. Are they true or false?

1. All English people like a "continental" breakfast of rolls and butter and coffee.

3. Office workers usually have their lunch at home.

4. The businessman in London usually has enough time to go home for lunch.

5. Afternoon tea can hardly be called a meal.

6. In every house in Britain dinner is the biggest meal of the day.

7. In Norman times - the 12th century - dinner was at 11 a.m.

8. The traditions of having meals haven’t changed over the centuries.

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