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Lunch is the commonly abbreviated form of the term luncheon. It refers to the meal had during mid-day. English-speaking countries referred to the meal in the eighteenth century as “dinner” — a word in vogue even today to connote a noontime meal in the UK and in regions of Canada and the United States. This is common to meals had on special occasions such as Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving and Sundays between 2.00 pm and 4.00 pm in the afternoon. Lunch is generally a heavy meal as compared to other meals had during the day which include breakfast and dinner. A lunch meal usually comprises of a main course accompanied by many side dishes, preceded by an appetizer or a soup and followed by a dessert. This need not be followed regularly as appetizers and desserts can be attributed to formal or festive occasions.

History of Lunch Recipes

The abbreviation lunch, in use from 1823 is derived from the more proper word "lunchentach," which was a meal that was inserted between more substantial meals.

In medieval Germany nuncheontach was a lunchentach a noon draught— of ale, with bread— an added meal linking mid-day dinner and supper, particularly during long hours of tiring labour while haying or early harvesting.

In the 19th century, male artisans went home for a brief dinner, where their wives fed them, but as the workplace was removed farther from the home, working men took to providing themselves with something portable to eat at a break in the schedule during the middle of the day. In parts of India a light, portable lunch is known as tiffin.

Popular Lunch Dishes from Different Cuisines

In traditional Bengali Cuisine lunch happens to be a seven course meal comprising lunch recipes- 'shukto', rice, dal, vegetable curry, meats such as chevon, mutton, chicken or lamb, rasgulla, pantua, rajbhog, sandesh, etc. Rajasthani lunch, Gujarathi lunch, Andhra lunch, Karnataka lunch, Udupi meal, Tamil lunch, Kerala lunch, Kashmiri lunch, etc are popular traditional Indian lunch preparations.

  • In Dutch Cuisine, the traditional lunch is known as "Middageten" or "Middagmaal". "Middagbrood" comprises bread slices carried by working people usually for eating in the canteen or at the work place. The slices of bread are normally packed with sweet or savory lunch food such as apple stroodle, pindakaas, cheese, etc and are generally paired with coffee or milk.
  • In French Cuisine the mid-day lunch food is known as déjeuner, had between noon and 2 p.m. It is the prime meal in the South of France.
  • In Spanish Cuisine, lunch is known as "Almuerzo"
  • In Filipino, lunch is known as "Tanghalian", where the suffix "-an" is added to "tanghali" referring to "noon".
  • In German Cuisine, lunch is known as Mittagessen, literally which means mid-day food. A familiar greeting during lunch-time in Germany is Mahlzeit, which means meal-time.
  • In Swiss-German, lunch food is known as "Zmittag", which in the literal sense is "to mid-day". It is habitual practice to say "En Guete" to one another before beginning lunch.
  • In Canadian French lunch is called dîner. The Anglicism lunch refers to an invitational light meal normally eaten when standing and not always at noon. It is presented for example in vernissages.
  • In Arabic it is known as ghathaa', a tailored imitative of the word ghithaa', a general evocative word of 'food'. Usually it is had between 2 and 4 p.m.
  • In Lithuanian it is known as pietūs and is the prime meal of the day. The word lunch is translated as priešpiečiai (which means pre-dinner) and would be brunch.
  • In Welsh it known as tocyn which can also mean snack. "Cinio" can also be used to refer to lunch, although "cinio" can also be used to refer to the evening meal had with supper.
  • In Esperanto lunch food is called "tagmanĝo".
  • In Hungarian lunch food is known as "ebéd", and traditionally the main meal of the day following a "leves", soup.
  • In Hebrew lunch is known as Aruchat Tzaharaeem, which in the literal sense refers to "meal of noon". it is had between 2 an 4 p.m. and is the chief meal in Israel.
  • In Portuguese it is almoço. The word lanche denotes afternoon tea. It normally comprises of a full hot meal, alike dinner, commonly with soup, a meat or fish course, and dessert.
  • In Persian, lunch is known as nâhâr, which actually means someone who has not had breakfast (nâ= no + âhâr=food). It usually consists of a full meal and is had between 12 and 2 p.m.
  • In Danish, lunch is known as Frokost, comprising of a lighter meal. Mostly it would be rye bread with varied toppings such as- liver pate, herring and cheese.

Preparation and Commercial Availability of Lunch Recipes

In the recent times, food industry has evolved categorically catering to different cuisine needs. As a result of exchange and intermingling of cultures, people are exposed to different food habits and are in the warrant of change. This has resulted in a major upheaval in food business commercially. Many restaurants in the world over have come up with food ideas in respect of preparation, presentation and occasional preferences. A Chinese lunch can be had today in most nook and corners of the world in thriving Chinese restaurants. Multi-cuisine restaurants are also a landmark progress in the food industry that serving foods from many cuisines under one roof.

Lunch Trivia

  • A meal which is a combination of breakfast and lunch is known as “brunch”.
  • Among the colourful jargon of the classic lunch counter and diner: "Adam and Eve on a raft" means two poached eggs on toast.
  • "zeppelins in a fog" is sausages and mashed potatoes.
  • "cowboy with spurs" is a western omelette with fries.
  • 'Bark with belly busters and city juice', is hot dog with baked beans and a glass of water.
  • 'Burn one, take it through the garden, and pin a rose on it' - Hamburger with lettuce, tomato and onion.
  • ‘A blond with sand' - Coffee with cream and sugar.
  • 'Bloodhounds in the Hay' - Hot dogs with sauerkraut.