Traditionally dinner was the first meal of the day and was eaten at about midday. Eventually, an early morning meal was added, and slowly people started eating their main meal later in the afternoon. Evening meals became more popular in the 18th century as lighting improved and to accommodate working hours.
Dinner times and customs differ from one country to another, as per the infographic, but there is a common thread that runs through all. Dinner is a meal where family and friends sit around a table and share food, drinks, and stories of the day. Families also enjoy lavish dinners in celebration of special occasions like Christmas and Thanksgiving. Sharing food around a dinner table is enjoyed by families across the world.
Dining habits differ from place to place. In India, people eat with their right hand. Eating is considered a sensual affair that feeds your mind and soul with the hands making the connection. In England, on the other hand, the range of cutlery can get confusing. Tables are laid with soup and desert-spoons, fish-knives, salad forks, dinner knives and forks, and may even include some specialized utensils like snail forks.
Table manners differ too. In India, China, and Japan, finishing every last bit of food shows that you enjoyed the meal. In Egypt and Cambodia, it is better to leave a little food on your plate as an indication that your hosts have fed you well. In the west, diners must eat quietly with decorum. In some eastern countries slurping and burping are required.
We all enjoy dinner, it’s just the way we do it that differs.