In general, people eat two meals a day:
- Dinner, at midday say 11:00 or 12:00
- Supper, in the evening, about 6:00.
- Husbandmen and others whose work is never done may have their supper as late as 9:00.
It is best to refer to having dinner instead of lunch or even luncheon. Invite people to dine with you, or ask “Where shall we dine today?”
Breakfast is simply a matter of breaking one’s fast on arising, and is not considered a formal meal. It is also not considered to be “the most important meal of the day.”
At Court, depending on the day’s activities, or last night’s, you probably arise somewhat later, and have a little bread and ale while being fussed over by your servants as they get you dressed and barbered, made-up and perfumed, and so on.
Of course, if (like a personal servant or a Lady of the Bedchamber) you are in charge of getting someone else dressed, you get up before they do. And your servants get up even earlier. Which may be one reason why the kitchens at Court never close.
A gentleman often has his dinner “out”, either eating at an ordinary or buying food at a cook shop and taking it home. An ordinary is both the tavern that serves a daily fixed-price meal—plate of stew, loaf of bread, pot of ale—and the meal itself.
A gentleman who can’t cadge a dinner invitation may say he is “dining with Duke Humphrey tonight.”
In town, many houses have no proper kitchen. You may cook over the hearth, or prepare food and take it to a cook shop, and pick it up later, ready to eat. Few homes have their own oven, so you may make up your own bread but take it to a baker who, for a fee, will bake it for you.
Since we do not yet have tea, we do not yet have Tea Time.