The philosophe asked me that question that other day and, being in the doubly uncomfortable position of not having a good answer (I suggested the four components of protein, starch, fats and …?), and getting nowhere with my work today, I’ve done a little research.
According to Gary Martin of The Phrase Finder, there are a lot of good stories and plenty of twaddle to be found in the history of a ‘square meal’, some of which involve sailors and square plates, and none of which are substantiated, leaving, well, not much at all.
Never mind, and who cares, really, because who needs square meals anyway? For breakfast I had a pancake (which should have been a waffle) with bacon and maple syrup, and for lunch I’m drinking lemon-flavoured “cola” drink made from a seventies Soda-Stream (the coolest gadget in the kitchen – and don’t try this at home, but you can even make your own champagne!), and by the end of the day I may or may not have had peanuts and an apple and a handful of popcorn, maybe a steak or a piece of coconut shortbread, and there’s nothing square about any of that but squares are for geeks. Except if it’s a sandwich, and you do like Elvis and get jiggy with peanut butter, bananas and bacon.