For those of you living in Dublin, the UK or anywhere else in northern Europe, the following information might seem a little strange. It is intended to give a glimpse to those coming from the warmer European countries, or other parts where the climate is more pronounced. Irish eating habits have changed dramatically in the past 20 years or so; when I was a youngster living in Dublin south, my da used to drive into Dublin city in the morning for work, drive the 4 miles/6 kilometres home at 12 noon, get to the house at about 12.20 and still manage to have his food and drive back to work by 1pm! In those days many people had their main meal in the middle of the day, perhaps mirroring the labourers working in the fields in the countryside. This was ‘dinner time’, and shared by everybody in the family. In the evening, typically at 6pm, ‘tea’ was taken, which might consist of bread and jam, perhaps some scrambled egg and, of course, a nice cup of tea or ten!
Modern Breakfast, Lunch and Dinners
These days most Dubliners have a light breakfast (or sometimes none at all), have a light lunch in the middle of the day (perhaps a filled roll, pastry or a bowl of soup in the winter), and have something more substantial when they return home from work. In the past the evening meal involved every family member sitting around a table – nowadays the vast majority of families eat separately and usually where there is a television to be seen. The midday meal traditionally involved potatoes (particularly outside Dublin), but these days Irish people also eat pasta and rice.
The Popularity of the Take-Away Meal
Take-away meals have become increasingly popular as a substitute for home-cooked meals. The ‘Chinese’ has for many years been a firm favourite, almost as popular as the fish and chips. In recent years Asian take-aways have become popular (Indian particularly), and the scope has widened with the influx of immigrants in recent years. Surprisingly, Dublin does not have a Chinese area; probably due to the fact that their restaurants are spread evenly throughout the city.