My husband and I disagree. It’s a rather large disagreement we’ve had for 17 years now (we started dating when I was very young — we’ll say 11). He now tries to brainwash the kids and that is where I draw the line. I prefer to call the last meal of the day dinner, and the middle meal of the day lunch. I don’t like the word “supper”. In my family we ate breakfast, lunch and dinner. We didn’t eat supper. My husband wants to eat supper everyday only he won’t get it here — I will only fix him dinner.
Since I knew this argument was not going to be over just because I’m the women and he should give in to my wishes, I had to consult some scholars. First was Maven’s word of the day and he made the point that “supper” was associated with the working class. Apparently my husband’s family worked and mine just loafed around and ate dinner. We must have a fortune hidden somewhere to put us in this higher class. Maven’s word of the day also mentions that The Supper Book, a cookbook, refers to supper as a very informal meal and dinner as a multiple course meal.
What Maven’s also mentioned is that the word “dinner” probably came from a French word meaning you eat the first big meal of the day. So, dinner is really breakfast?
I decided I needed to search more to understand this supper-dinner debate and consulted Fannie and Vera’s Site for New Civilians; that site mentions that in the mid-1800’s people (those with money) were eating five meals a day: Breakfast, Luncheon, Tea, Dinner and Supper. So, we could adopt this practice; I will fix Dinner and my husband will eat Supper sometime in the middle of the night when I am asleep.
Now according to Fannie and Vera again, both dinner parties and supper parties were referred to in that time frame. According to them, dinner parties lasted “up to three hours featuring many courses and agonizingly long conversations” — that does happen sometimes at my house. My son seems to have agonizingly long conversations and my husband and I eat our food in many courses since we have to help our kids with their food (is reheating in the microwave considered another course?). Now the supper party was usually given during a dance or entertainment. Well, I have to give my husband that one because there always seems to be dancing and entertainment in our house.
So, has this helped my husband and my debate? Not really, I’m still going to make and eat dinner, and if he wants supper, he’s going to have to make it himself! (I’m kidding, I usually greet my husband with his pipe and slippers at the door so he can go to the study until I finish making his dinner. I always sneek to the powder room before he comes home to fix my hair, put on a dab of perfume and make sure my pearls are in place. )