Simply put, gableci were cheap lunches for workers who started the day early with a coffee and a cigarette and were craving something warm, familiar and filling by 11am latest. ‘Elevenses’ of Winnie-the-Pooh lore doesn’t begin to capture this concept – condensed milk and honey would get you laughed out of Zagreb – while ‘brunch’ is a Western invention perfected by upscale hotels. As working practices changed, so did eating habits. More and more salaried locals started their working days later and only had time for a quick sandwich eaten on the hoof, usually from noon. But the gableci tradition stuck – you could still see blackboards outside honest eateries with the day’s specials chalked up and a price tag of, say, 35kn for two courses. Bean stew (grah), pasta squares and cabbage (krautflekerli), goulash and meat in breadcrumbs stuffed with ham and cheese (zagrebački odrezak) would be common dishes. Today the concept remains but has been stretched to include contemporary, even international, dining destinations simply offering cheap lunches. These may be included in November’s annual Gableci Week established by a leading Croatian daily newspaper to keep the tradition alive – although, in truth, it has never gone away.