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There is a whole new menu for the largest and most formal meal of the day in most Western cultures.
With a starter, main and dessert, as a proper British dinner should have.
But did you know a few centuries ago dinner referred to the meal eaten in the middle of the day, not the one eaten at the end as we know it today?
And that the word dinner comes from the 11th century Old French word "disner", which meant "dine", from the stem of Gallo-Romance "desjunare" -“to break one's fast, to eat breakfast”-, as the main meal?
In Western cultures, especially among the elite, it gradually migrated to later in the day.
Everyone in medieval England knew that you ate breakfast first thing in the morning, dinner in the middle of the day, and supper not long before you went to bed, around sundown.
Dinner was usually eaten before the sun went down, or very shortly afterwards, but it made great sense at the time. Artificial lighting such as oil lamps and candles were expensive and provided weak illumination at best. So people went to sleep at sundown because it's difficult to work and eat in the dark.
The last meal of the day was a rushed affair, a quick snack before the lights, the sun, went out.
Changes in social customs and classes, political and economic developments, and technological innovations, made that largest meal of the day moved later and later in the day until it was the evening meal.
These late dinners became more and more common in the 1700s, due to these new developments in culture and technology.
Thanks to better lightning, people began staying up later and many of them didn't have to get up so early in the morning anymore to take advantage of sunlight for their purposes.
And there was also more to do at night! The 1700s were a time of entertainment as well as enlightenment.
Little by little, dinner moved from morning to noon, and sharing in the last meal of the day after sundown with families, lovers, friends or work fellows became such an important moment of enjoyment for modern life.
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