Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Random mealtime thoughts

I got into a discussion with a Twitter friend about "second breakfast." And it reminded me of something that excited me to learn over break:

In Bavaria (and also Austria), people often eat second breakfast. It is apparently called "zweites Frühstück"(And I know what that means, and yes, it is literally "second breakfast.") The idea being you ate something really small early on - then went out and did farm chores - then sat down to a bigger meal around 10 am. (In Austria, it's apparently called "Gabelfrühstück"  (which means "fork breakfast, and it also delights me that I can do the literal translation on that now: knowledge is fun)

(A little more information is here)

This is actually not a surprising concept to me. Back when my maternal grandma was alive she still did something slightly like this (probably memories of her farm upbringing), only the second breakfast was more of a coffee-time - people would come to visit around then and she'd have coffee and sometimes tea for them, and whatever baked goods were around, and maybe toast and maybe light sandwiches. Or at least that was how it worked when my family was up visiting.

And you know? I would like a meal schedule more like that - light early breakfast (because I'm often not hungry when I first get up, and some days my stomach is actively a little unhappy - stupid remnants of IBS, but I must eat something because taking meds on an empty stomach makes it worse), then a nice big meal around 10 or 11 am, no real lunch, but then "high tea" early on in the late afternoon or early evening.

(And yes, I suppose you might say I'm mixing German and British concepts but shut up, both are my heritage, so I can)

High tea is something confusing to Americans who don't know British teatimes. High tea SOUNDS fancy, sounds like where you put on your RP accent and stick your pinky out* - but it isn't. It's the workingman's tea, more like a meal. The "high" comes from the elevation of the table. "Low tea" is people sitting in a drawing room or somewhere, with something like a coffee table for the tea service and maybe a few light cakes. "High tea" is eaten sitting at the kitchen table or another actual dining table, and it has sandwiches and sometimes rarebit - more protein, more heavy food. And I guess for some it took the place of the evening meal. I am guessing, as I've read it was more of a workingman's meal, it was something people wanted when they got home from work, hungry, and needed more food then, not just a few silly little cakes while they waited on 9 pm (or whatever it was) supper.

(*you're really NOT supposed to do that)

I like the idea of high tea because a lot of the typical foods are things I like (and some of the foods I don't commonly get or haven't tried sound like things I'd like). And I like the idea of eating earlier - I am a lark so I prefer to be in bed early, and I can't eat within a couple hours of bed or it bothers my stomach.

I suspect "second breakfast" was a fairly widespread thing in farming communities, it's just that German or Austrian German has a fun name for it. (And I'm guessing Tolkien saw it in some farming group somewhere and adopted it for his hobbits).

Actually, I wish I could eat more like a hobbit. But alas, I'm a human woman with health concerns who feels compelled to stuff down some requisite number of servings of vegetables and reduce sugar intake and not eat too much of things like cheese. But I can dream about "zweites Frühstück"  and the interesting sausages served at it and cheese toast at tea and not having to eat sauteed spinach or mass quantities of cauliflower, and only eating the things I particularly like. (If I didn't have to worry about my health, I would eat far fewer vegetables, more meat, more sausages, more cheese, more bread and bread-like things, and probably more sweets. And I'd drink more tea if caffeine didn't affect me so adversely....)

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