What do monks eat today?

Monks do not follow such strict rules about eating today. They realise the importance of a balanced diet and eat a variety of food to stay fit and healthy. However, they do not eat lots of big meals.

Monks still follow a strict timetable and meals are always served at the same time each day. Monks may get up at half past two in the morning, but breakfast is not served until half past four. This is usually bread or toast with jam, served with tea or coffee. Monks who do not have breakfast this early can have a later breakfast at half past seven (but they still have to get up at half past two)!

Lunch is served in the refectory at half past twelve. The monks walk in silence to the refectory and stand at their places. After a gong has been rung they sing grace before sitting down to their meal. The abbot usually eats alone in his rooms, but all other monks are present.

Most monks are not vegetarians. Long ago meat or eggs would have been served once a week, but now monks can eat these foods more than once a week. The monks are allowed to have a glass of wine or beer with their main meal.

The monks still eat in strict silence. If they need something passed to them at the table they use a special sign language.

The monks still listen to a religious reading whilst they eat. The monk who is reading stands behind a special raised desk called a pulpit. (You will find a pulpit at the front of a chapel or church - it is where the preacher or vicar reads the Bible when he is preaching). The monk will have his food, usually something simple like a bowl of soup, before or after the other monks' meal.

Monks still have to work hard in their monasteries and so they are allowed to have a cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon.

Supper is served after 6 o'clock. The kitchener does not prepare a special meal but uses the left-overs from the day's previous meals, such as bread, cheese, jam and cereal.

Activities for you to do:

1. Write a timetable of when the monks of today eat and what they might have for those meals e.g.
4.30am Breakfast
Bread or toast and jam
Tea or coffee

2. Write a timetable of when and what you eat.
3. Compare the two timetables.
Which so you prefer and why?