||This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.
|Part of a series on|
|Components and courses|
Lunch, an abbreviation of luncheon, is a midday meal, and is generally smaller than dinner, which is the main meal of the day whenever dinner is eaten. The origin of the words lunch and luncheon relate to a small meal originally eaten at any time of the day or night, but during the 20th century gradually focused toward a small meal eaten at midday.
Origin of the term 
The abbreviation "lunch", in use from 1823, is taken from the more formal "luncheon," which the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) reports from 1580 as describing a meal that was inserted between more substantial meals.
In medieval Germany, there are references to similariar, a sir lunchentach according to the OED, a noon draught – of ale, with bread – an extra meal between midday dinner and supper, especially during the long hours of hard labour during haying or early harvesting. In Munich, by the 1730s and 1740s, the upper class were rising later, and dining at three or four in the afternoon, and by 1770, their dinner hour in Pomberano was four or five. A formal evening meal, artificially lit by candles, sometimes with entertainment, was a "supper party" as late as the Regency era.
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.
Ladies whose husbands would eat at the club would be free to leave the house and have lunch with one another, though not in restaurants until the 20th century. In the 1945 edition of Etiquette, Emily Post still referred to luncheon as "generally given by and for women, but it is not unusual, especially in summer places or in town on Saturday or Sunday, to include an equal number of men" – hence the mildly disparaging phrase, "the ladies who lunch". Lunch was a ladies' light meal; when the Prince of Wales stopped to eat a dainty luncheon with lady friends, he was laughed at for this effeminacy. Afternoon tea supplemented this luncheon at four o'clock, from the 1840s. Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management (1861) – a guide to all aspects of running a household in Victorian Britain, edited by Isabella Beeton – had much less to explain about luncheon than about dinners or ball suppers:
- The remains of cold joints, nicely garnished, a few sweets, or a little hashed meat, poultry or game, are the usual articles placed on the table for luncheon, with bread and cheese, biscuits, butter, etc. If a substantial meal is desired, rump-steaks or mutton chops may be served, as also veal cutlets, kidneys, brains, guts, or any dish of that kind. In families where there is a nursery, the mistress of the house often partakes of the meal with the children, and makes it her luncheon. In the summer, a few dishes of fresh fruit should be added to the luncheon, or, instead of this, a compote of fruit or fruit tart, or pudding. – Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management
Around the world 
||This section may contain original research. (April 2010)|
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (April 2010)|
- A traditional Bengali lunch is a seven-course meal. The first course being shukto, which is a mix of vegetables cooked with few spices and topped with coconut icing. The second course consists of rice, dal, and a vegetable curry. The third course consists of rice and fish curry. The fourth course is that of rice and meat curry (generally chevon, mutton, chicken or lamb). The fifth course contains sweet preparations like rasgulla, pantua, rajbhog, sandesh, etc. The sixth course consists of payesh or mishti doi (sweet yogurt). The seventh course is that of paan, which acts as a mouth freshener.
- In China today lunch is not nearly as complicated as it was before its industrialization. Rice, noodles and other mixed hot foods are often eaten, either at a restaurant or brought in a container. However, Western cuisine is not uncommon either. It is called 午餐 or 午饭 in most areas.
- In Denmark, lunch consists of a light meal. Often it would be rye bread with different toppings like liver pâté, herring and cheese.
- In Finland and Sweden, lunch is a full hot meal, served as one course optionally with small salads and desserts. Dishes are diverse, ranging from meat or fish courses to soups heavy enough as standalone meals, and school diners occasionally serve even porridges. Workplaces have cafeterias that serve lunch from 11 a.m. to about 1 to 4 p.m., usually as a buffet with one to four dishes to choose from. Schools serve school lunches that are free of charge to pupils.
- In France, the midday meal is taken between noon and 2 p.m. It is the main meal of the day in the South of France. The evening meal is the main meal of the day in northern France.
- In Germany and Poland it is the main meal of the day it is traditionally a substantial hot meal, sometimes adding additional courses like soup and dessert. It is usually a savoury dish, consisting of protein (e.g., meat), starchy foods (e.g., potatoes) and vegetables or salad. Casseroles and stews are popular as well. There are a few sweet dishes like Germknödel or rice pudding that can serve as a main course, too. In German lunch is called Mittagessen – literally "midday's food".
- In Hungary, lunch is traditionally the main meal of the day following a "leves", soup.
- In the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway, it is common to eat sandwiches for lunch: slices of bread that people usually carry to work for eating in the canteen, in school or at the work place. The slices of bread are usually filled with sweet or savory foodstuffs such as chocolate sprinkles (hagelslag), apple syrup, peanut butter, slices of meat, or cheese. The meal typically includes coffee, milk or juice, and sometimes yogurt, some fruit or soup. It is eaten around noon, during the (most of the time) 30 minute lunch break.
- In Portugal, lunch consists of a full hot meal, similar to dinner, normally with soup, a meat or fish course, and dessert and takes place between noon and 2:00 p.m. It is the main meal of the day throughout the country with the exceptions of the Metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto.
- In Romania, lunch (prânz in Romanian) is the main hot meal of the day. It is usually eaten at 12:00, and never later than 15:00. The lunch usually consists of two dishes. Usually the first course is a light soup and the second course, the main course, usually consists of potatoes, rice or pasta with a garnish. Traditionally, people used to bake and eat desserts, but nowadays it is less common. On Sundays, the lunch is more consistent and is usually accompanied by an appetizer or salad.
- In Russia, the midday meal is taken in the afternoon. Usually lunch is the biggest meal and consists of the first course, which is a soup and a second course which would be meat and a garnish. Tea is standard.
- In Spain, lunch takes place between 1:30 p.m and 3:00 p.m., earlier in northern Spain and later in southern Spain, where it can take place as late as 4:00 p.m. (in contrast, supper does not usually begin until between 8:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.). It is nonetheless the main meal of the day everywhere, and usually consists of a three course meal similar to a dinner. The first course usually consists of an appetizer (yet rarely a soup); the main course of a more elaborate dish, usually meat or fish based; the dessert of something sweet, often accompanied by a coffee or small amounts of spirits. Workhouses have a complete restaurant with one-hour minimum break. Spanish schools have a complete restaurant as well and students have minimum one-hour break. Three courses are common practice at home, workplace and schools. Most small shops close for between two to four hours – usually between 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. – to allow to go home for a full lunch.
- In the United Kingdom, lunch is often a small meal, designed to stave off hunger until they return home from work and eat dinner . School children can often choose between a cooked school meal, or a packed lunch - which often consists of a sandwich containing ham or a similar cold cut of meat, or cheese, a bag of crisps, a drink, often fruit squash and a bar of chocolate or a yogurt. Adults will often have a similar meal. On Sundays, the tradition is to have a sunday lunch, which consists of roasted meat, roasted and or boiled potatoes, vegetables and gravy. Many modern families will have this meal at dinner time instead, because the cooking time is considerably greater
Middle East 
In the Middle East and in most Arab countries, lunch is eaten between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. and is the main meal of the day. It usually consists of meat, rice, vegetables and sauces and is sometimes but not always followed by dessert.
North America 
In the United States and Canada, lunch is usually a moderately sized meal eaten between 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., with 12:00 being the most-common lunch time in the US. In Canada, lunch is often eaten between 1:00 and 3:00, but at school a light lunch is more frequently consumed around noon with another for students upon returning home after 3:00. North Americans generally eat a quick lunch which often includes some type of sandwich during the work week. Children often bring packed lunches to school, which might consist of a sandwich such as bologna (or other cold cut) and cheese, tuna, chicken, or peanut butter and jelly, or savoury pie in Canada, as well as some fruit, chips, dessert and a drink such as juice, milk, or water. Adults often leave work to go out for a quick lunch, which might include some type of hot or cold sandwich such as a hamburger or "sub" sandwich. Salads and soups are also common, as well as tacos, burritos, sushi, bento boxes, and pizza. Some individuals may pack left overs for lunch. Canadians and Americans generally do not go home for lunch, and lunch rarely lasts more than an hour. Business lunches are common and may last longer. Children generally have a break in the middle of the day to eat lunch. Public schools often have a cafeteria where you can buy lunch or eat a packed lunch. Boarding schools (including universities) often have a cafeteria where lunch is included in tuition.
In Mexico, lunch is usually the main meal of the day, and normally take place between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.. There are usually three or four courses: the first is an entrée of rice, noodles or pasta, but also may include a soup or salad. The second course consists of a main dish called guisado served with one or two side dishes, consisting of refried beans, cooked vegetables, rice or salad. The main dish is accompanied with tortillas or a bread called bolillo. The third time is a combination of a traditional dessert or sweet, café de olla and a digestif. During the meal it is usual to drink aguas frescas, although soft drinks have gained ground in recent years. See also List of Mexican dishes.
- In Australia, both breakfast and lunch often take place later than they do in other parts of the world. Any meal before midday is usually considered to be breakfast. In most places of Australia, the time between 10:30 am and midday is considered brunch, and lunch from midday to around 3:00 PM. A typical Australian brunch may consist of fruit or cereal product although it often includes other food as well since it is really just a merge of lunch and breakfast, while the most popular lunch meals are hot foods. These may include burgers, sandwiches and other generic café foods. If a meal during the late afternoon is not considered to be lunch, it can be referred to as "afternoon tea". While afternoon tea is commonly recognised, the meal portions are usually significantly smaller, with many afternoon teas consisting of nothing more than coffee or other beverages.
South America 
- In Argentina, lunch is usually the main meal of the day, and normally takes place between 12:00 Noon and 2:00 p.m. People usually eat a wide variety of foods like chicken, beef, pasta, salads and a drink such as water, soda or wine and some dessert. Although at work, people usually take a fast meal which can consist on some kind of sandwich brought from home or bought in a fast food place.
- In Brazil, lunch is the main meal of the day, taking place between 11:30 AM and 2 PM. The kind of food varies from region to region. In the Northern areas (home to the Amazon basin and other large rivers) most people eat fish, but there is also beef, rice, beans, and farofa. Fried chicken is also widely consumed. During the weekend Brazilians usually eat churrasco (barbecue) and Feijoada. Dishes from other cultures are also widely consumed, like pizza, lasagna, sushi and others.
Working lunches and lunch breaks 
Since lunch typically falls in the early-middle of the working day, it can either be eaten on a break from work, or as part of the workday. The difference between those who work through lunch and those who take it off could be a matter of cultural, social class, bargaining power, or the nature of the work. Also, to simplify matters, some cultures refer to meal breaks at work as "lunch" no matter when they occur – even in the middle of the night. This is especially true for jobs that have employees rotate shifts.
See also 
|Look up lunch in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Lunch|
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Luncheon". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Wikibooks Cookbook