What exactly is Tea?

“What are you going to have for tea?”, “For tea Chloe had…” and it goes on and on. But what exactly is tea? I never had to deal with the word tea until my kids entered the world of crèche. I got really confused. You see for me the meal times are as follows:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

And because they are kids, between all those meals they have a little snack. I had no idea what tea was and what it is referring to. Is it a snack, is it a dinner? If you think about it, it has been crossing my way for almost four years.

For me meal times are straight forward. Breakfast is anytime between 8 and 10am. Then you have lunch time which is between 12 and 2pm. Before I had kids, it was 1pm but now I stretch it out a bit, generally when they had a late breakfast for example. And then there is dinner time… For me dinner is between 6 and 7pm. I could never have my warm meal earlier than that. It probably is a German thing.

So I went online and done a bit of research on the whole tea situation.

Tea is a one name for the evening meal. It is associated with the working class and is typically eaten between 5 and 7pm. In the North of England, North and South Wales, the English Midlands, Scotland and in rural and working class areas in Ireland, people traditionally call their midday meal dinner and their evening meal tea. (served around 6pm) Are you confused already? Whereas the upper social classes would call the midday meal lunch or luncheon and the evening meal (served after 7pm) dinner or suppoer. This differentiation in usage is one of the classic social markers of British English.

(source Wikipidea)

Not sure if I am wiser now. But it seems to be a thing in Ireland and the UK. Sometimes I think they are getting too much to eat in crèche when I look at their sheet for the day. It’s very detailed but I’d say they are probably not big portions, considering how many kids are in the facility. But to have a snack at 2pm and “tea” at 3.30pm is very close together in my opinion.

Before we moved, I have always been wondering why they don’t eat their dinner. Once I came home from work, I cooked them dinner everyday because we only lived 5 mins from work and crèche at the time. Sometimes they didn’t want it. It’s because they had that “tea”.

When we moved, I changed the whole cooking situation. Mainly because work is now 20 minutes away and with traffic it can be even more sometimes. For this reason they now get “tea” (DINNER!) at 3.30pm in crèche. If that was me, I would move it to 4 or 4.30pm at least but I am not going to mess with the crèche’s schedule when this is the case for all rooms. The only thing I find, since we have put this in place, as soon as we come home all I hear from my oldest is “I want something to eat”. That makes me wonder, does he need bigger portions? Generally he gets a fruit bowl and a yoghurt after that but he is looking for more. So there is me running up and down between living room and kitchen the whole evening.

How do you deal with “tea” time? Do you call it tea or dinner?

10 thoughts on “What exactly is Tea?

  1. We don’t have “tea” in the United States. I had no idea what it was! I thought you just drank tea. Thanks for setting me straight. We do eat a snack at around four, then dinner at six. We just call it “snack” or afternoon snack. I live on a farm, and I get up early and do chores, so I have a light breakfast before chores, and then I have a bowl of oatmeal – “second breakfast” at about ten. I think that’s pretty common for farmers.

    I know some people call dinner supper, or some people have a very big lunch and call it supper. I guess as long as you know what you mean, it’s okay!

    1. That’s what the problem is. When they get home they are hungry again when they get fed at 3.30pm So I asked them what other parents do and they said they just give them a snack. But they are constantly looking for more. Nightmare.

    1. That’s even more confusing. So you call lunch time dinner? Help. Lol
      In Germany we actually have another time between lunch and dinner called tea time. This would be coffee, tea and cake.

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