Elevenses

Elevenses

[ih-lev-uhn-ziz]
In the United Kingdom and some other Commonwealth realms, elevenses is a snack that is similar to afternoon tea, but eaten in the morning. It is generally less savoury than brunch, and might consist of some cake or biscuits with a cup of tea or coffee. The name refers to the time of day that it is taken: around 11 am. The word "elevenses" is seen as a little old fashioned.

In Colombia the term las onces (the elevens in Spanish) is used to describe a similar meal. Among Chileans, the tradition was known as under the same name, although in modern times, it has shifted in most respects to later in the afternoon, more closely reflecting the pattern of British "tea time". In Australia and New Zealand, it is called morning tea or smoko (often little lunch or playlunch in primary school). Choice of foods consumed at morning tea vary from cakes, pastries or lamingtons, or biscuits, to just coffee. In the Royal Australian Navy it is commonly referred to as "Morno's".

In popular culture

For Elevenses, Winnie the Pooh preferred honey on bread with condensed milk. He is also said to have coined the word, "smackerel" having an equivalent meaning to 'elevenses'.

Paddington Bear often took elevenses at the antique shop on Portobello Road run by his friend Mr Gruber and usually received some sound advice about his current thorny problem at the same time.

In Middle-earth of the Lord of the Rings universe by J.R.R. Tolkien, it is a meal eaten by Hobbits in addition to second breakfast.

The term appears extensively throughout the novel Don't Stop the Carnival, by Herman Wouk, in which various characters gleefully partake of "elevenses" at every opportunity, usually accompanied by alcoholic beverages. The "Lang Elevenses" consists mainly of Johnnie Walker Red Label and the participants would generally get rowdy by the hour of 1:00pm. It was sometimes known to continue past the start of afternoon tea.

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