Nationwide research has resolved the age-old argument of what to call your last meal of the day, with a RESOUNDING majority of the nation (54 percent) agreeing, it should be called “dinner”.
But it was a very close call, as four in ten (40 percent) of Britons still refer to it as “tea”, while just one in twenty (5 percent) call it “supper”.
Historically, the word dinner was associated with the largest meal of the day, regardless of whether it was served in the morning, afternoon, or evening. The term comes from the non-Classical Latin word disjējūnāre, which is defined as breaking a fast.
Supper, on the other hand, is more time specific. It stems from the Old French word souper, meaning an evening meal, and it’s generally lighter than other meals served throughout the day.
And tea comes from the term “High” tea which was an alternative to afternoon tea, combining snacks and a hearty meal and was usually served at about 6pm, but eventually evolved into some people calling their evening meal “tea”.
But whether you say “dinner”, “supper” or “tea”, the data suggests we make assumptions about people, based on how they refer to the meal.
Over a quarter (26 percent) of Britons claim that if you call it “supper”, you must be posh, while the same number believe that if you refer to it as “tea”, you must be Northern.
It’s no surprise then that the study, commissioned by Travelodge which operates 200 restaurants in UK hotels, found that 43 percent think what you call your evening meal depends on where you live.
The survey found “tea” is unsurprisingly more prevalent in the North of the country (53 percent of Northerners call it tea), while “dinner” is more likely to be used in the South (66 percent refer to it as dinner).
However, the data revealed 41 percent have got themselves into a socially awkward situation when it comes to what to call the third meal of the day.
16 percent worry that others look down on them for saying ‘tea’, while 12 percent have asked a new partner to refer to their evening meal in a different way when meeting their parents, so as not to look bad.
An argumentative one in ten Britons has even fallen out with a colleague or friend about the correct term to use.
One in five (20 percent) Britons insist the term “tea” refers to a cup of tea and a biscuit, while 10 percent assume ‘tea’ would be a light meal between the hours of 4pm and 6pm.
Meanwhile, 15 percent would expect an afternoon tea with cakes and sandwiches if invited for ‘tea’.
The study found it is not just our main meals that are causing problems – respondents were also divided over the correct term for the sweet course.
Four in 10 Britons (40 percent) refer to it as “pudding”, 12 percent say “afters”, and 39 percent stick to “dessert”.
Shakila Ahmed, Travelodge Spokeswoman said: “We have over 200 restaurants in our hotels across the UK and our Bar Café team members regularly debate whether the evening meal should be called dinner or tea. Therefore, we thought it would be interesting to put this age- old argument to bed by asking the nation. Interestingly our research findings show opinion is clearly divided across the country. However, dinner is growing in popularity.”
The study also explored where we eat our evening meal and found that the most common place is plonked on the sofa with a tray (39 percent), but that 28 percent of families gather around a traditional dining-room table.
A swanky one in five (20 percent) choose to eat at their kitchen island, but one in 10 Britons slope off to their bedroom to enjoy dinner on their own.
More than one in twenty (6 percent) are still slogging away in the office come dinner time, so eat their tea at their desk.
The average UK family eats at around 7pm, with 25 percent claiming it is old fashioned and uncool to eat before 5pm.
In fact, over a quarter (27 percent) of respondents said they didn’t like the trend for feeding children separately to the adults, believing the whole family should eat together every evening.
43 percent of the adults surveyed said the evening meal was the only chance they got to catch-up with their partner and children.
WHAT THE UK CALL THEIR EVENING MEAL… (*ONLY 5 PERCENT REFER TO IT AS “SUPPER” AND THEY ARE “POSH”, ACCORDING TO THE 2,000 BRITONS POLLED)
Birmingham – dinner (49%)
Brighton – dinner (82%)
Bristol – tea (52%)
Cambridge – dinner (64%)
Cardiff – tea (47%)
Edinburgh – dinner (74%)
Glasgow – dinner (74%)
Leeds – tea (61%)
Leicester – tea (71%)
Liverpool – tea (58%)
London – dinner (80%)
Manchester – tea (67%)
Newcastle – tea (66%)
Nottingham – tea (51%)
Oxford – dinner (70%)
– Ends –
Join our mailing list to receive Tomorrow’s Business every Monday to Thursday and learn which companies and business news topics will be making the headlines over the coming week.