It use to be for centuries that we only ate two meals a day not three like today. Dinner at 10am after several hours of work, people got up at dawn and went to work. The second meal of the day was a light meal in the afternoon around 4pm. With time Dinner will slip to 2pm and finally to the time we now have it today in North America. In Europe breakfast is often a coffee and a pastry, where lunch is a substantive affair around 1:30pm and dinner is late and light after 8:30pm, think Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece or France. Germany, Britain, and other Northern countries have adopted a meal time we know.
Interesting to see in this video with Clarissa Dickson-Wright how our relationship to food, its preparation and our meal time changed completely with the Industrial Revolution around 1800 and beyond. What also changed was eating to nourish body humours to eating dishes that where fashionable and elegant.
Fast food or street food comes in with the Victorian age around 1837 to satisfy city workers and the teeming masses who left the countryside farms for the industrial cities, the mines and the industrial workshops who have no time to sit down for a proper meal. In other words people took the time to eat a meal in the past whereas today we have no time to eat or do anything.
I find this video so instructive on human habits and the societal influences on our daily lives. Imagine before 1800 people took on average a full hour for their 10am dinner, sat down and consumed large amounts of meats and a variety of dishes. How our work day has completely changed the way we live today. It also seems healthier to me to have a large meal early in the day when you continue to be active and can digest properly and not late in the day when you are less active and go to bed to sleep.