History of Dinner Time

For the longest time, dinner was the primary and biggest meal, eaten in the middle of the day (anytime between noon at 1 p.m.) by working class folks and the wealthy, because artificial lighting was expensive and weak at best, forcing people to head to bed at sundown. Conversely, breakfasts were small affairs as were late-day suppers. Wealth and technology, along with more peaceful times, emboldened people during the 1700s to expand their days into the night for business, parties, and various entertainments. The wealthy (who spent less time in governmental affairs and more on leisure) tended to sleep in more often, pushing that primary dinner time to as late as 6 p.m., with supper coming as late as 2 a.m. As for the middle-class, the demands of work and longer commutes (does this sound familiar?) pushed dinner to the evening hours and created snacking times just to satisfy the hunger brought on by extended intervals between meals.


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Beef, its what's for Dinner

Beef was not an important part of the American diet before the Civil War. Cattle were not indigenous to the Americas, so you could not find cattle in the New World until the Spanish introduced them into in Mexico in 1540. In the 18th century, the Spanish and French colonist began to raise cattle. As the railroads developed, they used trains to transport to herds from San Antonio to New Orleans. However, this industry collapsed because of the cold winter, and 90 percent of the herds were wiped out.

Beef in the US

In 1871, a Detroit meat pecker named G. H. Hanharmand brought refrigeration railway cars west, transforming the industry. After the Second World War, beef became a symbol of American prosperity. Americans were eating 62 pounds by 1952, 99 pounds by 1960, and an all time high of 114 pounds in 1970. Nowadays, that rate is increasing everyday.

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The menu right from Mom's Cookbook.