Culture(s) / Time and length of meals

A1 Breakthrough
Meals are an art form. But habits are sometimes different from one country to another.
In your opinion, do people in your culture tend to eat for a living or do they attach a lot of importance to enjoying good food in convivial gatherings?
In your country, in your culture, at what time do you eat breakfast? How much time do you spend eating breakfast on weekdays? Do you eat your breakfast at home, on the street, in a café, at your workplace?
In your country, in your culture, how much time do you spend eating lunch? How much time do you spend preparing your lunch? Does lunch or dinner consist of a single course or are there several ones?
Are they served at the same time or one after the other? In what order?

In France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, food is an art of living, and gastronomy is appreciated. People enjoy eating together and meals can last a long time, a few hours even for festive meals.
Breakfast is taken between 6 A.M and 8 A.M during the week. It is taken rather fast. In France, it consists of a hot drink (coffee, tea, chocolate), bread (baguette) or a viennoiserie (croissant, brioche). You will also find jam, honey, etc. In Belgium, it usually consists of coffee and sliced bread with jam or chocolate spread. People sometimes eat cheese such as Gouda or ham. In Ivory Coast, breakfast is substantial and can replace lunch: it consists of rice, beans, cereals (such as millet), proteins (meat, fish, seafood) and sometimes fritters.

In France and Switzerland, it is common to eat a cooked meal for lunch, even though more and more people eat a snack. Lunch break, that lasts around an hour, takes place between 12 P.M and 2 P.M. In Belgium, the minimum time is 30 minutes and it is common for employees to bring a picnic to work: either a prepared meal or sandwiches.

Dinner is taken between 6 P.M. (Belgium, Canada) and 8 P.M. (France). In France, it consists of a meal, a desert and eventually a starter (soup or salad). Main course is served after the starter and desert comes after the main course.

Meals do not have the same name in every French-speaking countries.
In France In Belgium, in Canada
Le petit-déjeuner Le déjeuner
Le déjeuner Le dîner
Le dîner Le souper

Eating habits have changed a lot in the past few years and still vary depending on where you live (small or big city), your professional activities, your age and your family situation.

Practical exercises

Culture(s): mealtimes and the lengths of meals

5 exercises
Look • Listen • Intercultural (everyday life / meals)