Lunch or Dinner? Dinner or Supper? What Do Montanans Say?
With all the big things in the news to debate, this topic might really take the cake. Listen to what Jim in Great Falls, Montana had to say.
For a little background, Jim is a rancher in Great Falls. I always enjoy his rants, especially when it comes to people moving to Montana from somewhere else, but then they try to change Montana into the place they left. I also enjoy hearing him complain about the show Yellowstone...and do we call it a pickup or a truck?
Anyway, he was complaining about the low price of lamb right now and somehow that turned into a chat about "Beef, it's what's for dinner."
Jim: Eat lamb. If beef is what's for dinner...lamb is what's for supper.
So that got the debate going: what do you call it, lunch or dinner? Jim says it is lunch if you're just grabbing something quick...it's dinner if you sit at the table. What about dinner versus supper? The evening meal is "supper" if you ask Jim. That's what I grew up calling it, but over the years have just called the evening meal dinner.
Look at most restaurant menus in Montana and you'll typically see breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. And if you grew up in Montana- we all know and love a good ole' Supper Club. It was Sam's Supper Club when I was a kid in Glasgow, Montana growing up.
Dinner sounds pretty formal, I guess...but then again- supper must be a big deal because Christians remember "The Last Supper."
How do you refer to the various meals at your house?
Merriam-Webster offers up this definition:
Dinner and supper are both used to refer to the main meal of the day, and especially to that meal as eaten in the evening. Supper is used especially when the meal is an informal one eaten at home, while dinner tends to be the term chosen when the meal is more formal. In some dialects and especially in British English, supper can also refer to a light meal or snack that is eaten late in the evening.
If you grew up using the term supper, like I did, chances are your ancestors were farmers (mine were) says the Reader's Digest.
“[In the 18th and early 19th centuries,] Americans regularly ate a light supper as their evening meal because they were eating dinner—the biggest meal of the day—around noon,” food historian Helen Zoe Veit told NPR.
SouthernLiving.com also offers up some insight with a Southern perspective.
Full audio of our 9A hour podcast as we took phone calls from across Montana, including Jim's call from Great Falls: