So then, it would come to late afternoon and we kids would be getting hungry ... the wine biscuits we looted after getting home from school were wearing off.

So the question would be asked.

"What's for tea?"

Which is a fair question, although the term "tea time" would, if were perhaps in some parts of the old country, be seen as having a cup of the dried leaves and boiled water and maybe a scone.


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For across much of Blighty the term "tea" is effectively designed to be fitted in with either "afternoon" tea or maybe "high" tea, with many a dictionary explaining that "afternoon tea" is also the time to partake of a small meal in the mid afternoon.

Oh, and there's "morning tea" of course.

It seems that using the term "tea" in describing the evening meal is something which emerged most strongly in New Zealand and Australia, with the more formal sounding "dinner" the main description of an evening meal in most other parts of the globe.

Mind you, I looked that word up and discovered that "dinner" is also a word used to describe a meal at mid-day ... but only if that meal was to be the main meal of the day.

Like a Christmas dinner.

However, I can't recall ever, as a kid or at any time for that matter, using the word "dinner" when pondering the last meal of the day.

It was always "what's for tea mum?"


Had we been growing up and living in England I daresay mum's response would be along the lines of "maybe Bell ... or possibly Choysa".

And at 6 o'clock it would declared that "dinner is on the table".

So what is it at the end of the day?

Tea or dinner?

Or is it tucker ... or a nosh-up.

And while in this culinary quandary, what's the sweet finish to tea time (or dinner time then)?

Is it pudding or dessert?

And what's this entree thing all about?

They're starters aren't they?

Or nibbles.

Oh so many questions which have been cooked up by ... cooking.

Sometimes we'll have bangers for tea, and other times we'll have sausages for dinner ... and ice cream for pudding or a custard pudding for dessert.

And puddings of course can also be served up for tea ... or dinner.

Yorkshire puddings and black puddings.

It's all a trifle confusing.

Trifle ... is that a pudding or a dessert?

Either way it is an interesting term because it means a minor matter ... something trivial and of little significance.

Which is a bit rough if you've spent half an hour whipping one up for pudding ... I mean dessert.

It is little wonder foreigners attempting to learn the English language become bewildered.

Because we always give them multiple choices.

Like where to settle after tea, or dinner, or supper for that matter.

Do you go to the lounge, the living room or the front room?

And when the kids mess their rooms up they become pigsties apparently.

Imagine telling a visitor with limited understanding of English that your child's room is a pigsty.

It would get worse if you later told the kids they could finish off the scraps for tea ... or dinner.

Mind you, breakfast gets left alone.

It is termed due to the breaking of the "fast" while sleeping and is the first meal of the day.

No other name for it ... I hope.

Starters perchance?

Naaa, it's breakfast, or brekkie, and that is that.

And there is no alternative to the dear old late-night nibbles as night becomes morn ... the midnight snack.

Not takeaways for that matter.

You hand over the cash and take the food away.

And take it home for tea ... or dinner.

Or supper?