Meal Science in Food Processing and Dietetics
from C.H.I.P.S.

Meals in Science and Practice
Interdisciplinary Research and Business Applications
edited by H L Meiselman

Meals in Science and Practice presents contributions on meals from many perspectives, using different methods, and focusing on the different elements involved.


  • summarizes key findings in dimensions of the meal
  • considers how meals are defined, studied and taught, including eating alone and socially and the influence of gender
  • reviews the meaning of meals in different cultures
  • discusses the meal from various perspectives, including that of a chef, a product developer and a meal setting designer

Part One summarizes the key findings in Dimensions of the Meal, the first book to bring an interdisciplinary perspective to meals, and introduce the current publication by reviewing the key topics discussed in the following chapters.

Parts Two to Four consider how meals are defined, studied and taught. Major considerations include eating socially and eating alone, the influence of gender, and the different situations of home, restaurant and institutional settings.

Part Five reviews meals worldwide, with chapters on Brazilian, Indian, Chinese and Thai meals, among others. The final parts discuss meals from further perspectives, including those of the chef, product developer and meal setting designer.


Part 1: Introduction

Dimensions of the meal: a summary

  • The challenge of interdisciplinary research on meals
  • The psychological perspective
  • The nutritional perspective
  • The social perspective
  • The historical perspective
  • The biological perspective
  • The cultural perspective
  • The food service industry perspective

Meals in science and practice: an overview and summary

  • Styles of meals: home, restaurant, institution
  • Meal patterns: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Snacking and grazing
  • Gender
  • Eating together/eating alone
  • National meals
  • Convenience meals
  • Regional meals within countries

Part 2: Defining Meals: Definition of the Meal Reconsidered

Meals: the social perspective

  • Classic meal definitions
  • Commensality and reciprocity of meals
  • De-structuration and individualisation of meals
  • New interpretations of sociability of meal preparation and eating
  • Are we still going to eat meals together in the future?

Foodservice perspective in institutions

  • Types of meals in institutions
  • Menus
  • Nutritional standards for meals
  • Food waste with institutional meals
  • Timing of meals in institutions
  • Methods of counting meals

Part 3: Studying Meals

The study of Nordic meals: lessons learnt

  • The debate on meals in contemporary Western societies
  • Study design and methodology
  • Daily patterns of eating: when and what?
  • Hot or cold food?
  • Social context: where and with whom?
  • Social differences behind or in addition to national variations
  • Implications of the approach

Meals and gender

  • Historical perspective on the role of gender in meal contexts
  • Gender and meals

Institutional meals

  • Purpose of this chapter
  • Expectations of institutional meals
  • Contracting out
  • Institutional meal production systems
  • Institutional meal service systems
  • Types of institutions and meals served

Studying meals in the home and in the laboratory

  • Current practices for food testing
  • How meal context may affect food preferences?
  • Food testing under standardized or naturalistic tasting conditions
  • Central location tests versus home use tests
  • Improving food testing to enhance integration of eating/drinking situation variables?

Part 4: Studying Meals

A table for one: the pain and pleasure of eating alone

  • How frequently do people eat alone, and is the frequency increasing?
  • What do people think about eating alone?
  • How do people feel about eating alone?
  • How does eating alone affect amount consumed?
  • When does the solitary eater eat more than the social eater?
  • What are some of the correlates of solitary eating?

The American family meal

  • A methodological note
  • Historical background
  • Current meal pattern in the US
  • Impact of parental work and television on family meals
  • Family rituals
  • Family meal outcomes
  • Foods found in American meals

The family meal in Europe

  • The existence of the family meal today
  • Historical evidence
  • Socialization
  • Health

Gender perspectives on the solo diner as restaurant customer

  • Eating in and eating out
  • Restaurant meals for solo diners
  • The essence of a restaurant meal from the perspective of the customer

Part 5: Teaching Through Meals

The family meal as a culturally relevant nutrition teaching aid

  • Overview of the use of meal patterning in established nutrition education programs
  • Youth meal patterns
  • Case study: adapting meal pattern information to a high school nutrition education program
  • Adapting meal lessons in nutritional educational programes to achieve eduxational goals
  • Strengths and weaknesses of using meals as a means to teach healthy eating behaviors

Culinary arts and meal science as an interdisciplinary university curriculum

  • Philosophical underpinnings of the use of different forms of knowledge
  • The five aspects meal model (FAMM)
  • Types of meals
  • The room
  • The meeting
  • The product
  • Control management system
  • Atmosphere

Part 6: Meals Worldwide

The packaged military meal

  • Unique requirements and limitations of military rations
  • Military meal developments of the 18th century
  • Introduction of specialized and standardized rations in the 19th century
  • Modernization of military meals in the 20th century
  • Current research and development for military meals

French meals

  • Description of the contemporary French pattern of meals
  • Social genesis of the contemporary pattern of meals
  • The future of the French pattern of meals
  • Conclusion: a paradox

Italian meals

  • Meal pattern
  • The traditional structure of the main meal and its evolution
  • Main meals and regional culinary traditions in Italy
  • Beverages with meals

Brazilian meals

  • Historical perspective
  • Regional food
  • Rice and beans and other combinations
  • The day-to-day rhythm of meals in Brazil
  • Conclusions: relationships surrounding food

Indian meals

  • Geography and agriculture
  • Religion
  • Nutritional values of the indian meal
  • Description of indian meals
  • Preparation of the meal

Thai meals

  • Background to Thailand’s culinary culture
  • Basics of Thai meals
  • The meal matrix: harmony and contrast
  • Harmonious blend of the Thai meal
  • Meal sequence
  • Continuities in royal class meals
  • Regional meals
  • Thai meals and meal practices across the regions
  • Trends in Thai eating behavior

Chinese meals

  • Traditional Chinese meals
  • Regions
  • Social diversities and inequalities: the urban-rural divide
  • Social diversities and inequalities: gender, generation and age

Australian meals

  • Sources of data on the Australian meal: nutrition surveys
  • Definition of ‘a meal’
  • Methods
  • Food categorization
  • Results and discussion
  • Weekday meals
  • Saturday meals
  • Sunday meals
  • Limitations of the data

Part 7: Meals in Practice/Meals as Art

Chefs designing flavour for meals

  • The art and process of flavor design by chefs
  • Elements of flavour
  • Elements of the chef
  • Inspiration and authenticity
  • Considerations for menu flavour design
  • Menu flavour design by segment

Creating concepts for meals: perspectives from research and from business practice

  • Meals as collections of products versus meals in the experience economy
  • Concepts as blueprints
  • Ideation: the act of creating the raw materials for ideas, products and experiences
  • Systematized ideation for experimental design (conjoint analysis)
  • Testing full concepts: ConScreen, norms
  • Experimental design of ideas: databases of what works
  • Learning from a case history
  • Interpreting the results: steps in the systematic analysis of results
  • What goes together: does a light healthy meal differ from a healthy meal alternative? Creating optimal concepts using the database
  • Databasing the mind and developing this database for meals

Part 8: Further Perspectives on Meals

Meals, behaviour and brain function

  • Mood and cognition
  • Nutrients, mood, and cognition
  • Meal intake, cognition, and mood

Designing meal environments for “mindful eating”

  • Today’s domestic foodscapes
  • What makes a meal “a meal”?
  • The architecture of domestic foodscapes
  • Memories of childhood foodscapes
  • Implications for designing meal environments
  • Limitations and future trends

Kosher and Halal meals

  • What is a good meal for Muslims and Jews following the food laws?
  • Kosher and halal food laws
  • Food meal preparation and sharing in Muslim and Jewish homes
  • Routine meal etiquette, worship and hospitality: washing, prayers, blessings
  • Special meals: the religious calendar, fasting schedules, special foods and guests
  • 'Common' meals in Islam and 'special' meals in Judiasm
  • Variations in meals within Judaism and Islam
  • Meals occasion conflict and collaboration with outsiders
  • Meals in desperate circumstances, or among outsiders: the need for proficient knowledge and religious maturity
  • Meals by degree of religious observance and the perceptions of others

Revisiting British meals

  • Revisiting the 'proper' British meal?
  • Redifining the proper meal menu pluralism
  • Time use and domestic dining
  • British meal pattterns


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Meals in Science and Practice
Interdisciplinary Research and Business Applications
edited by H L Meiselman

2009 • 704 pages • $268.95 + shipping
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