A guide to meals in the UK

And Dish

Food is one of my favourite things! But since moving to Manchester I have noticed meal times are called different things by different people. If you’re an international student that must be quite confusing, so here is a definitive guide to mealtimes in the UK.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – how will you study successfully if you’re hungry? One of the most famous things about the British is the Full English Breakfast, which includes eggs, bacon, sausages, baked beans, fried tomatoes, mushrooms, black pudding, fried bread or hash browns and toast and butter! When it’s that ‘full’ its not surprising most people don’t eat a Full English every day. I usually have one at the weekend, for brunch – a meal that covers breakfast and lunch together!

During the week most people eat cereal with milk, toast, or porridge – hot oats cooked with milk with sugar, honey or salt.

If you get a bit peckish (hungry) in the middle of the day you might want to consider elevenses. This is an old fashioned name for a mid-morning snack. Lots of people like a cup of tea and a biscuit. Try a classic British variety such as Bourbon (for the chocoholics), shortbread (a buttery biscuit invented in Scotland), digestives (for those who like things simple) or a Garibaldi (thin wafers speckled with raisins, that are jokingly called ‘squashed fly biscuits’).

When you’re working or studying lunch is usually a quick meal that can be eaten on the go, such as a sandwich, soup or salad. Lunch is usually eaten between 12 and 2pm. Lots of cafés and restaurants do special lunch deals, and you might see ‘meal deals’ in supermarkets, where you can buy a drink, a sandwich and a bag of crisps (potato chips) at a discount.

Sunday lunch – also known as Sunday roast – is the classic, big meal at the weekend, and can be served as late as 5pm.

Dinner usually means the evening meal which can be eaten between 6pm and 9pm and is often a social meal shared with family or friends. Lots of people go out for dinner, and with the range of different cuisine available in Manchester, why wouldn’t you?

Some people call the evening meal supper, although this tends to be served a bit later on between 7.30pm and 9pm. This is a bit of an old-fashioned word now, and most young people will talk about having dinner.

Tea is one of the confusing terms. As well as being the classic British hot drink, it can also be an afternoon snack, or another word for dinner.

My favourite version of tea is Afternoon Tea. This is a pot of tea, with a selection of finger sandwiches, cakes and scones with jam and clotted cream, all served on a tiered cake stand.

After a British meal we typically have dessert or pudding, which is sometimes called a sweet. The classics are apple crumble, sticky toffee pudding and treacle tart, and they’re all amazing!


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