What exactly is supper?
I remember visiting my soon-to-be mother in law for the first time, and feeling quietly horrified when she announced that we could have time to change/ freshen up after a long journey and then have some supper. What?! I’d travelled for hours, I was cold and starving, and she couldn’t even be bothered to cook?!
You see, where I come from, supper is the cold snack you have before you go to bed. I think it was Stuart Maconie who described it as ‘the bowl of cornflakes you have on the sofa in your pyjamas and dressing gown at 10.30pm’. When I was a kid, supper was two custard creams and a glass of milk. Or Red Leicester cheese on a Jacobs cream cracker. Not the kind of meal to impress a guest with.
Fortunately, my MIL hails from a different bit of Britain (although to be honest I’m not entirely sure whether it’s a regional variation or a social class variation) and the supper we eventually sat down to was a delicious home cooked three-course show-stopper – the first of many. It definitely wasn’t supper in my book though.
Meal names are confusing. When I was growing up the meal you had at midday was called either lunch or dinner – depending on whether it was hot or cold. If you took sandwiches to school, that was a packed lunch. But if you had the hot meal provided by the school – that would be school dinner. The meal that you had after school with your family = dinner. Except if you invited a friend round to eat after school, that would be inviting a friend round for tea. Perhaps because on those occasions, the children would usually eat first, a more kid-friendly meal, before the parents/ rest of the family.
It’s no wonder speakers of other languages get confused when learning English! I have a Spanish friend who’s spending 8 months at a language school in London to really get to grips with English. She visited last weekend, and the amount of English phrases, expressions and, frankly, oddities we encountered in our conversation were making her head spin. I’ve never got to that level learning another language but I guess it’s just the same challenge. Language is a reflection of culture, national identity and history, as much as it is a tool for conveying meaning. What would a non-native speaker (particularly one with no interest in football – or should I say soccer?) make of phrases like ‘they think it’s all over, it is now’,’the hand of God’ or ‘football’s coming home’ which most English people instinctively understand?
My inspiration for this post was reading JoAnna’s response to the prompt, which got me thinking about the different definitions of the word ‘supper’. Thanks JoAnna for getting me started!
Written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G. Hill. This week’s prompt was sup. If you’d like to take part the rules, borrowed from Linda’s site, are as follows:
1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.
2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.
3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.
4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.
5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.
6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!
7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.
8. Have fun!