Culture(s) / Mealtimes and the length of meals

A1 Breakthrough
Would you say that people who share your culture tend to eat as a means of subsistence, or rather, that is it very important to them to have friendly get-togethers and enjoy a good meal?
In your country, in your culture, at what time do you have breakfast? How much time do you spend having breakfast on a weekday? Do you have breakfast at home, in the street, in a café, at your workplace?

In your country, in your culture, how much time do you spend having lunch? How much time do you spend making lunch? Is lunch or dinner made up of a single dish, or are there several?
Are they brought to the table all at once, or consecutively? In what order?

In France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Canada, eating is an art of living, and people appreciate fine cuisine. People like taking their meals together, and these meals can last a long time, up to several hours, even, when it is a holiday meal.
People have breakfast between 6 and 8 am on weekdays. It is rather short. In France, it consists of a hot drink (coffee, tea, hot chocolate) and bread (baguette) or a pastry (croissant, brioche). There can also be jam, honey, etc. In Belgium, people usually have coffee and slices of white loaf bread covered with jam or chocolate spread. Sometimes, people have cheese, like gouda, or ham.

In France and Switzerland it is customary to have a cooked meal for lunch, even if more and more people now have snacks. The lunch break, which lasts about an hour, takes place between 12pm and 2pm. In Belgium, 30 minutes is the minimum amount of time and often, employees will bring a picnic to work: either a cooked meal, or slices of buttered bread with cheese or delicatessen meats.

Dinner usually takes place between 6pm (Belgium, Canada) and 8pm (France). In France, there is a main dish and a dessert, and sometimes a first course (soup or grated or sliced raw vegetables). The main dish is brought out once the first course is finished, and dessert is brought out after the main dish has been eaten.

Meals don't have the same name in all French-speaking countries.

In France
In Belgium, in Canada
Le petit-déjeuner Le déjeuner
Le déjeuner Le diner
Le diner Le souper

Dietary habits have changed quite a bit over the last few years, and they still vary according to where you live (big city or small town), what you do for a living, how old you are, and your family situation.

Practical exercises

Culture(s): mealtimes and the lengths of meals

4 exercises
Listen • Intercultural (everyday life / meals)