When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses.
-Joyce BrothersOver the past four centuries that people have been living in America, many of the meal traditions have varied from region to region.
During the colonial times, the meal patterns followed European practices. Breakfast, dinner, and supper were served and eaten with the extended family. Breakfast was eaten right after everyone got up. Dinner was eaten in the late afternoon when the men got home from work and the children got home from school. But as the country was hit with the Industrial Revolution and the cities and towns increased in size the men started to get home later and later from work. This led to supper getting pushed back to nighttime and dinner getting turned into lunch. Lunch became very rushed and light while supper turned into a leisurely tradition where the families were able to talk about their days at work, school, or in the home.
As the country moved into the 20th century, the kind of meals a family ate were determined on social status, not what region you lived in. The later and longer a family ate breakfast, the wealthier they were. Also, if a family had a beautiful dining room that was a sign of wealth. Many families were willing to invest large sums of money into a nice dining table and chairs. As the 1950s rolled in, the stereotypical family dinner was on its way. Mom made dinner in her pearls and dress and cleaned the kids before Dad got home and they all sat together. As both sets of parents started to go into the workforce, the family meals became much more scattered and infrequent.