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Thread: Survey: Dinner or Supper?

  1. #1
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    Survey: Dinner or Supper?

    I don't often hear "supper" anymore, but after seeing someone refer to their evening meal as such, I wondered how many of you do. Is it a regional thing? A generational thing? We grew up with breakfast, lunch and dinner. My grandparents have breakfast, dinner and supper. How you you call your meals?
    "What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?"
    By W. C. Fields

  2. #2
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    interesting topic

    I wonder if it is generational. My parents (who are old enough to be my grandparents) say "supper", I now say dinner. I don't know anyone else who calls it supper, but I like the word. it's homey and makes me think of comfort foods.

  3. #3
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    My experience is the same as Emily's...my grandparents ate breakfast, dinner and supper. They also called the toilet the camode and the couch the davenport......
    ~Kim~

    Nashville Restaurant Examiner - check out my page
    Check out my blog: Zen Kitchen http://onehotkitchen-kim.blogspot.com/

    "Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."
    Dave Barry

  4. #4
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    I grew up with breakfast, lunch and dinner or supper. But my DH has a hang up about not calling the evening meal supper, so we call it dinner now.....whatever. (you have to pick your battles). To my grandparents, lunch was the snack between dinner and supper.

  5. #5
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    We're refined 'dinner' people... however my grandparents always invited us over for 'supper'. But of course, like Kim, they also had interesting little names for other common things. The porch was 'the lenai' and the sofa 'the davenport', but the toilet was 'the throne'!! (seriously!) Grandma also called every type of grease, whether it was butter, margarine, bacon grease or vegetable oil 'lard'. Something very unappetizing about her telling me to 'make sure I put enough lard in them mashed potatoes'. By the way, the grandparents were from Missouri!
    ~ "The right shoe can change your life...."- Cinderella ~

  6. #6
    I first thought it was generational. When I was growing up (in the 70's) we called the late afternoon meal "supper". For some reason, and I don't recall the changeover actually taking place, we now (DH and I) call it dinner.

    I guess it turned into geographical when I visited a friend in Tennessee last year; I confused her by talking about dinner. "It's 5:00, it's supper, not dinner" she'd say.

  7. #7
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    Dinner!

    Natasha

  8. #8
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    I'm originally from NC and we have always said breakfast lunch and supper...except for Sunday-a big lunch after church is dinner.

  9. #9
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    I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I had always thought it was a regional thing. My friend who is from the midwest eats breakfast, lunch, and supper.

  10. #10
    Oddly enough, I use the terms somewhat interchangeably.

    If I had to isolate instances, however, I'd say that "dinner" is my preference for a more formal eating adventure, while "supper" is a burger 'n fries affair.

  11. #11
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    Originally posted by lorilei
    Oddly enough, I use the terms somewhat interchangeably.
    Me, too. I eat breakfast, lunch, and then either dinner or supper. I don't know what makes me say one or the other! Some days it's what's for supper? and others it's what's for dinner? Like Lorilei, there may be some distinction for me between more formal and more casual eating, but I have never really paid attention to when I use it.

  12. #12
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    We used "dinner" and "supper" almost interchangeably. I think the difference lay in what we were trying to stress: the size or the time of the meal. "Dinner" was the biggest meal of the day (that's why people who have their big meal at midday use the term instead of "lunch"). "Supper" was the evening meal, as opposed to breakfast (morning) and lunch (midday). So the big meal in the evening could be called either dinner or supper.

    In ritzy circles, "supper" usually means a light snack before retiring, i.e., after getting home from the fancy-schmancy night out that everyone's been on.

    In 19th-century England (as if anyone cares), breakfast wasn't until midmorning, dinner was in midafternoon (2:00 to 4:00pm, depending on how fancy you were), tea was something to hold you over between the big meals, and supper was a late night snack before retiring.

    How did everyone live without hearing about all this? Hee hee.

    Cheers,
    Phoebe

  13. #13
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    Kind of funny how we call our last meal dinner, but yet we belong to supper clubs....food for thought
    ~Kim~

    Nashville Restaurant Examiner - check out my page
    Check out my blog: Zen Kitchen http://onehotkitchen-kim.blogspot.com/

    "Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."
    Dave Barry

  14. #14
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    I come from a "dinner" family and when I was growing up, one of my neighbors used to call lunch "dinner" and I was confused the first time I heard it and thought but were having lunch.

    My mom (82 next month) calls the couch the davenport and athletic shoes gymshoes (which we discussed awhile back) as she was originally from Chicago.

    My great grandmother was born in Missouri and my grandmother was born in Iowa but was raised in North Dakota and then Minnesota. She used to love to say "I'm from Missouri" when she didn't believe you. She also used to get "madder than a wet hen" and to those she was mad at, she would "pass them like a pay car passes a tramp". When we would go shopping and if she would find an article of clothing to be undesirable, she "wouldn't wear it to a dogfight". I miss grandma, she was fiesty!

  15. #15
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    I'm from Pennsylvania and my grandparents ate breakfast, dinner, and supper. My parents and now me eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is very interesting.

    Kim--interesting point about supper clubs

  16. #16
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    Like Cooksrhot, I am from the South (born in Va, now live in NC). Growing up, there was a clear delineation between supper and dinner. Supper was what you ate at night. Dinner was the big meal you ate after church on Sunday afternoons. Now, of course, people even in the south use supper and dinner almost interchangably for the evening meal.
    "I may be going to hell in a bucket, but at least I'm enjoying the ride"

  17. #17
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    in Spanish it would be desayuno, almuerzo y cena so..its breakfast, lunch and the correct translation for cena is supper. Mygrandparents used supper, but I think I use dinner

  18. #18
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    I say "dinner". My grandparents (I think) say "supper".

  19. #19
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    "wouldn't wear it to a dog fight"
    That's awesome -- I think I might use that one.
    Last edited by emilycat; 08-01-2001 at 02:42 PM.
    "What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?"
    By W. C. Fields

  20. #20
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    The way I understand it, dinner is the biggest meal of the day. So if you have a large meal at noon and eat light in the evening you have Breakfast, Dinner, Supper. If your evening meal is the biggie but noon is not, it's Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

    If it matters I'm southern so that's how we did it down in good ol' Georgia (and you have to say Georgia in at least 3 sylables )
    Whatever you are, be a good one.
    Abraham Lincoln

  21. #21
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    I never thought about this topic much. I'm from Connecticut and use dinner and supper interchangably as well. The only time "dinner" is used differently is at a huge gathering- feast ( parties, holidays etc) even if it is earlier than 5:00 pm

  22. #22

    DINNER

    We call our evening meal dinner and it is our biggest meal of the day.

    My grandparents called the evening meal "supper", but I think they still called the midday meal lunch.

    I believe all of this goes back to farming days of old when more families were working on a farm. You had your big meal of the day (dinner) at noon to sustain you through a hard day of working on the farm/outdoors. Then you had a lighter meal when you were done for the day (supper).

  23. #23
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    Originally posted by emilycat
    "wouldn't wear it to a dog fight"
    That's awesome -- I think I might use that one.
    Glad you like it, Grandma would be honored. When my sister and I go shopping and I see something ugly, I tell her that Grandma wouldn't wear it to a dog fight!

  24. #24
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    Others have mentioned it's a generational thing, but it is still very much a regional thing, too. Around here, they say "supper" for lunch, and then "dinner" for dinner. I grew up with breakfast, lunch and dinner. To me, supper and dinner are interchangeable terms, but then again, I'm not originally from around here........
    In a nutshell, I'm saying no to fishbread.
    - Wendy W - CLBB

  25. #25
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    Growing up it was "breakfast, lunch and supper", except on Sundays, we had dinner around 2:00 in the afternoon.

    Since I've been married it's "breakfast, lunch and dinner", but sometimes find myself using "supper/dinner" interchangably.

    Ann

  26. #26
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    Both sets of grandparents called meals breakfast, lunch & supper. Growing up, however, my parents always called the last meal of the day "dinner." I continue to do so myself.

    Along the line of other seemingly generational words (davenport, comode, etc.)... my grandmother didn't have a living room, she had a "parlor." And when we would play outside, she would make sure we put on our "dungarees" or jeans.
    "Life is a cookie."
    Alan Arkin, Grosse Pointe Blank

  27. #27
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    Like some others, I use the terms interchangeably. However, as a kid (originally from San Joaquin Valley, CA), we always referred to our evening meal as supper. Actually, my mother still does. (parents now in FL). I probably use "dinner" more though when I'm talking to my friends about "dinner plans". Funny, I think I'm going to ask my kids (12 & 10) about it - I'm curious as to what has "rubbed" off. Usually they're asking "what's there to eat?" no matter what time of day - they'll eat anytime!

    Cathy
    Cathy


    I love to cook with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food!

  28. #28
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    Personally, was raised on the 'supper' thing.....don't use that word now....think it is generational....but still hear people from small town Ontario use the word 'supper' - my own children refer to it as 'dinner' and have never used the 'supper' word and always find a little 'off' when they do - it's all in how ones grows up and when - IMHO.

  29. #29
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    I've always referred to it as dinner.

  30. #30
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    I am seriously sitting at my computer saying "supper" "dinner" over and over again. I think I say both. I would have to say I probably say dinner more but I am sure supper crosses my lips too. My dad is a big fan of saying supper. He is also calls the living room the "parlor" and if it too chilly he will suggest I put on a shawl. Mind you I have never owned one!!

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