I was driving home from my parents house in Hager City Wisconsin, which they still call “Red Wing”, and I ran across this “Ham Supper” sign outside a small church. I thought it was so hilarious that I actually pulled my car over to snap a picture. The sign made me wonder…what does everyone else call the last meal of the day? You know, the one you sit down for after you get home from work and before you go to bed. Do you call it something different if you stay in to eat verse going out somewhere to eat? Is it called a different name if you cook something fancy or something simple? Or, do you call it the same thing no mater what or where you are eating? I know, a lot of questions for 1 simple word.
Personally, I call it dinner no matter what. My family (parents, grandparents, etc.) on the other hand have 2 different names for this meal and it actually depends on the situation. I chuckle every time my mom calls is supper so I recently asked her what the difference was. Below, is her definition of this meal:
Dinner as defined by my family: Dinner is what you have when you go out to eat at a restaurant. This is a “fancier” meal.
Supper as defined by my family: Supper is what you call the meal if you are eating dinner at home with your family, or having guests over. It doesn’t matter what you are eating but the location does matter. It most often takes place at the home – inside or outside.
I couldn’t help but wonder, what is the real definition of these words? Is supper a small town term, or something more widely used? I looked it up and below is what I found.
“Dinner” as defined by Wikipedia: Dinner used to be the name of the main meal of the day. However, depending upon culture, it may now be the second, third or fourth meal of the day. Originally, it referred to the first meal of the day, eaten about noon, and is still occasionally used in this fashion if it refers to a large or main meal.
“Supper” as defined by Wikipedia: Supper is the name for the evening meal in some dialects of English – ordinarily the last meal of the day. Originally, in the middle ages, it referred to the lighter meal following dinner, which until the eighteenth century was invariably eaten as the midday meal.
When push comes to shove, it doesn’t really matter what you call it. If you want to have someone over or invite them out for a meal, I imagine you won’t decline based on the terminology. It is still just the last meal of the day.