American meals

Americans usually have three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. All these three meals are served almost at the same time as in Britain. Breakfast usually comes before eight o'clock in the morning, since most people have to be getting off to work and children have to leave for school. Lunch is served between twelve and one o'clock, and dinner, the main meal, is generally between six and eight in the evening.

Breakfast in America may be orange juice, toast and coffee, or juice and cold dry cereal with milk. Lunch is usually a small meal – a sandwich, salad or soup. People who work must either bring-bag it or get it near their work place. School children take sandwiches, fruit and cookies along with them or eat in the schools cafeteria.

Brunch is a combination of breakfast and lunch that many Americans enjoy on Sunday. Scrambled eggs or omelets are often served along with other regular luncheon dishes. It is usually served about eleven in the morning. Many fine restaurants have a traditional Sunday brunch where it is served from around 10 a.m. until mid-afternoon.

Dinner is ordinary planned around a meat course, pork, or various fowl such as chicken or turkey. Ground beef is called ham­burger and ground pork is sausage. In addition to meal, an Amer­ican dinner often includes potatoes or rice, and green or yellow vegetables. Fresh salad is also frequently served. Coffee, tea and milk are generally served with a dessert after dinner, but not al­ways. Sometimes a typical dinner may include an appetizer, such as soup or fruit salad. The word «supper» can be used in place of dinner.

There are two main types of restaurants in the USA – fast-food and full-service restaurants. A fast food restaurant is much like a cafeteria. Items such as hamburgers, hot chicken sandwiches, pizza and salads are typical of a fast food restaurant. Eating in a fast food restaurant takes less time and less expensive than in a full-service restaurant.

Americans have a wider assortment of foods to choose from than consumers in any other country. Meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, cereals from various parts of the nation are available throughout the country during any season of the year. Frequently, the problem for the consumer is not the lack of variety of brands of food, but rather the bewildering assortment from which one must choose. In addition, the consumer can choose from foods that are fresh, frozen, canned and cooked or uncooked. Currently, virtually all food stores have available a wide array of frozen foods especially prepared to be heated of cooked in a microwave oven.

The microwave oven has revolutionized the home preparation of meals. It, along with the supermarket, where virtually any kind of foods are available, make the preparation of food the most time-efficient in the world. A family can make only one trip a week to the supermarket to purchase its food needs for an entire week. Before the turn of the century Americans will have access to computer-based shopping enabling them to make their buying decisions at home and picking up their purchases at the store or having them delivered to their homes.

Since the 1950s fast-food and take-out restaurants have had a phenomenal proliferation, first in the US, and more recently throughout the world. The first fast-food chains like McDonalds, Burger King, Arby's and Wendy’s which offer sandwiches, hamburgers, French-fried potatoes, hot dogs, hot pizzas, pancakes, chili and fried chicken, have been joined by other chains some of which offer Mexican, Chinese and other ethnic foods. The cost of the food in such restaurants is frequently cheaper than if one were to prepare similar food in one's kitchen. Consequently, an entire family may frequently go to eat at fast food places for convenience and economy.

A more recent development in the American food industry has been the demand for healthier foods. The food industry has made available a wide variety of low-fat dairy and meat products. Animals are now being scientifically bred to produce lean meat. Even low fat cheeses and ice cream are being produced. Vegetable, fruit and cereal consumption are increasing. A second demand is for foods grown and produced free of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. This has led to the development of an “organic industry”. Of course, the cost of organic foods is substantially higher than for nonorganic food. The market for organic food has nevertheless been expanding.


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