It’s barely 10 a.m.,
but you feel like munchin’ …
You’re craving some crunchin’ …
Can’t wait for a luncheon!
No worries, my dear.
Let’s do a nuncheon.
I didn’t make this one up,
“Nuncheon” is every bit as real a word as luncheon,
and both were invented in the 19th century
(by Mother Necessity, of course).
After all, a gal can get mighty hungry come mid-morning.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, breakfast often occurred well after sunup, and dinner came along in mid-afternoon, so lunch as we know it wasn’t really an issue.
But as time went by, dinner got pushed back hour-by-hour, and, well, you can see the obvious problem.
“Luncheon” began to light upon the tongues of the hungry, but some cynical soul deemed it a vulgar term.
Somehow, nuncheon (which may have been pronounced noon-shine) was easier on the ears.
According to period author Regina Scott of Nineteen Teen, nuncheon food “was laid out on a sideboard in the dining room, and you could pick from cold meats like ham and roast beef, pickles, fruit preserves, and dessert-type items like cakes, buns, and tarts, all washed down with ale or tea. You might even grab up a sandwich of bread, meat, and cheese.”