Cultural differences

More dinner time

1:06 PM

In a worry not to make a too long entry (yes I am guilty of lengthy writing as you must have noticed) I did bypass sharing dinner facts that aren’t party related.
DH and I tend to show our cultural differences a lot in our food habit than we do otherwise.
While we tend to be on a middle ground for breakfast or lunch (though thanks to long Mumbai commute breakfast together is something we do only on weekends now), dinner has always been the odd one and we don’t really see eye to eye on that one.
As I mentioned in my previous entry Indians generally have dinner quite late in the evening, and not just when you have guests to entertain, DH find it odd to eat before 9pm and regularly eats at 10pm right before bedtime.
While in Switzerland (and it is very important to make this distinction as there are other European countries that do very differently) dinner is the meal you eat right after coming back home from work, generally around 6.30-7pm. Switzerland also being having a mix of French and German influence, you have the more French way of eating a cooked meal, or the very German “Abendsbrot” which translates as “Evening bread” Abendsbrot in Switzerland is basically a cheese platter and lunch meat (ham, salami…) put in the middle of the table along with a loaf of bread (generally whole grain) and people help themselves of what they want and eat. As my family puts it, this type of meal is meant to be richer in protein than in carbs because sleep time means regeneration time for the body and proteins are the building block of muscles so it makes sense to give your body more building block at night when it needs it while keeping the carbs which are energy food on the lower side while you sleep.
Anyway I grew up on Abendsbrot, and my family always ate it around 6.30pm, then after the meal it was herbal or fruit infusion time, as my grand ma used to say, warm fluids help the fat in cheese get digested better, not to mention something warm in the evening slowly eases you into sleep mode. Once the whole meal is over, people generally watch a little TV, or read, or engage into relaxing activities such as playing games, doing jigsaw puzzles and are in bed at around 10.30 –11pm with most of the meal digestion having occurred while winding down in the post meal phase. One of my grand ma though always asked during the holidays if we were a bit hungry right before bedtime and if yes would just lead us to the kitchen and give us a few snack option: a fruit, a glass of chocolate milk, or a fruit yogurt.

And now even as a grown up, and after 7.5 years living in India I just have a lot of difficulties eating dinner late, I do it on occasion of course, but if I eat too heavy at night and too close to my bedtime I tend to sleep awful. DH doesn’t seem to be affected, which is probably because he is used to eat late, but for the life of me I can’t. For me dinner has to be done and over with before 8pm and I admit that now with DH’s longer commute he is rarely there and I start without him. We also don’t eat the same, I tend to eat more continental in the evening, and even stashed my freezer with a few non-veg options. having grown being used to a high protein dinner I prefer that option even now, plus having insulin resistance I don’t want to load my system with carbohydrate during my less active phase of the day. So while DH’s dinner is the typical vegetable/rice/dal/chapati/dahi, mine is more around the line of : cheese with a slice of bread and a fruit yogurt downed with a fruit infusion if I’m in for a more Swiss meal. Or something like 4-5 chicken nuggets (which I bake rather than fry) with a vegetable soup and a slice of bread, or even just a big salad in which I sometimes add grilled chicken or crab sticks accompanied by some yogurt and herbal tea again.

In fact if you want to really put a name on what my dinner would be here in India, this would be the typical tea time snack, I eat it around the same time, and while mine is not namkeen and samosa, the difference being that for me that meal is my final meal of the day.


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