In the American colonies, the mid-day meal wasn't called lunch, but instead was called dinner, and was considered the main or biggest meal of the day. The evening meal was called supper and was usually a much lighter meal than lunch. The quality of and amount of foods and the times served were based a great deal upon level of wealth and status.
The settlers, the poor, ate breakfast early-a hastily drunk cider or beer and a bowl of porridge cooked slowly all night over the embers-then went straight to their chores. The rich ate later in the morning. Townspeople usually had an alcoholic beverage upon rising followed by cornmeal mush and molasses, with more cider or beer.
By the late 1700s, breakfast was served at 9 or 10 a.m. and consisted of coffee, tea, or chocolate, toast, wafers, muffins with butter. Poor southerners ate cold turkey and cider. More affluent southern planters ate more leisurely breakfasts of breads and cold meats. In the Northeast, people also ate fruit pies and pastries. In the Middle Colonies, people ate scrapple, a mixture of cornmeal and headcheese, and sweet cakes deep fried in fat.
Colonial Americans ate dinner in the early afternoon, served in the hall or common room. Poor families ate from trenchers filled from common stew pots. A trencher was a long wooden table with a v-shaped "trough" cut along the center of the table. Stews comprised pork, sweet corn, cabbage, vegetables and roots, eaten with slabs of bread. Richer families might have a two-course meal of soups, meats, meat puddings or meat pies containing fruits and spices, pancakes and fritters and side dishes of sauces, pickles and catsups. Salads or "sallats" were served more often with supper and also added as a table decoration. Desserts were the second course-custards, fresh cooked or dried fruits, tarts sweetmeats, pound cakes, gingerbread, spice and cheese cakes.
Affluent Northerners ate shortly after noon, and Southern planters ate later after the slaves and laborers had been fed.
Supper for the early setters was either non-existent or a light bedtime snack of leftovers or gruel, a mixture of boiling water and oats or corn meal. Some ate roasted potatoes prepared with salt and no butter. Richer people had side dishes of eggs.