Breakfast, lunch and dinner; three meals a day probably seems like a biological imperative to those of us born into modern western society, but it isn't. In other societies and other times, man took his sustenance on different schedules, and if you should have the discipline to eat like a Roman, you could save yourself a lot of denarius. By eating one major meal, in the middle of the day, at the local Hometown Buffet or its like, you could save hundreds of dollars every month.

The Greeks of Classical times ate once or twice a day; a light repast midday, and a larger meal, diepnon, in the evening. The Romans ate very sparingly upon rising, again around noon, then sumptuously at cena, a prolonged meal served in the late afternoon or early evening and extending as long as hospitality would allow.

As Europe developed, so did lunch, which again became the main meal of the day, sandwiched between a scant breakfast and dinner. Other societies have adopted a similar schedule -- whether this is a function of western economic hegemony or a normal part of a more urban culture I don't know. Certainly, when the breadwinners are working in an office 20 miles from home, gathering at noon with the family isn't possible.

Nonetheless, there is nothing sacred about thrice a day meals, especially the kind that we see in the U.S. today; big breakfast, big lunch, big dinner. And as a large portion of the population enters retirement and another segment enjoys the freedom of the electronic office, we may see more people free to adopt lunch as their main meal again. At my local Hometown Buffet, Seniors can eat between 1-3 p.m. for $5.99 plus tax, a hard-to-beat bargain.

Why not become one of them, if you can? You have nothing to lose but a few belt sizes, and could end the month with some extra cash in your wallet.


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