German cuisine has evolved as a national cuisine through centuries of social and political change with variations from region to region. The southern regions of Germany, including Bavaria and neighbouring Swabia, share many dishes. Furthermore, across the border in Austria, one will find many similar dishes. However, ingredients and dishes vary by region. Many significant regional dishes have become national, but have proliferated in very different variations across the country presently.
Breakfast (Frühstück) commonly consists of bread, toast, and/or bread rolls with cold cuts, cheese or jam (Konfitüre or more commonly called Marmelade), marmalade or honey, eggs, and (often strong) coffee or tea (milk, cocoa or fruit juices for children). Deli meats, such as ham, salted meats and salami, are also commonly eaten on bread in the morning, as are various cheeses. A variety of meat-based spreads, such as Leberwurst (liverwurst), are eaten during breakfast as well.
Traditionally, the main meal of the day has been lunch (Mittagessen), eaten around noon. Dinner (Abendessen or Abendbrot) was always a smaller meal, often consisting only of a variety of breads, meat or sausages, cheese
Smaller meals added during the day bear names such as Vesper, Brotzeit (bread time), Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cake), or Kaffeetrinken. However, in Germany, as in other parts of Europe, dining habits have changed over the last 50 years.
Today, many people eat only a small meal in the middle of the day at work, often also a second breakfast, and enjoy a hot dinner in the evening at home with the whole family. This is also the reason why the availability of cheap restaurants close to the office or the existence of a factory canteen cannot be assumed automatically.