The following quote comes from a collocation book for ESL purposes. I can see it's trying to teach us about the usage of different expressions to describe different kinds of meals.

"Whether you want a slap-up meal, a gourmet meal or just tasty, home-cooked food, there’s something for everyone in the Old Port restaurant area.

I'm interested in the difference between "slap-up meal" and "gourmet meal". My initial thought after doing some google search is this: A "slap-up meal" is an excellent meal which tends to be heavy and substantial. A "gourmet meal" is also an excellent meal, but usually calls to mind the delicate and exquisite type. Both are tasty of course!

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    Her Majesty complimented the chef: "What a slap-up meal!" The Bash Street Gang were in raptures: "Oh, truly a gourmet meal!" "Exquisitely presented!" "Indeed, a repast to remember for many a year." – Edwin Ashworth Feb 19 '15 at 12:06
  • Etymology of 'slap-up' - English Language and Usage – user98990 Feb 19 '15 at 12:20
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    I would say that the intended meaning of "slap-up" is apt to be misunderstood in the US. The expression is not common, and it sounds a lot like the much more common "slap-together", meaning put together at the last moment using what's on hand. – Hot Licks Feb 19 '15 at 12:30
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    Suggesting migration to cooking.stackexchange.com or a more appropriate Q&A SE site. As far as the English language question is concerned, the Q is GR. ODO: oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/slap-up – Kris Feb 19 '15 at 12:55
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    How odd! I'm very familiar with the phrase slap-up meal, and I've used it myself—but always understood and used it in the sense @HotLicks described: something that's been quickly and carelessly slapped together using what was at hand. Seems I've been using it quite differently to most other people, then. Live and learn! – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 19 '15 at 13:11

You have understood the distinction pretty well.

Slap-up has the connotation of self-indulgence, plenty of food of the kind one really enjoys, possibly piled high on a table from which one helps oneself, presentation is not a major factor. Think succulent pies; think Spotted Dick and custard.

You might find this question interesting.

Gourmet is about fine-dining, exquisite presentation, a single carrot placed just-so, foams and gels, foraged herbs, interesting flavour combinations (snails and liquorice anyone?) 14 course tasting menus and a small mortgage to pay for it all.

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    Only makes sense if it's a snail-shaped liquorice candy. Foams and gels for presentation? In a bathroom setting? – Daisy Yang Feb 20 '15 at 11:43
  • Yes Daisy, I agree that it sounds mad, really mad. However it's supposedly very, very good: thefatduck.co.uk/The-Menus/Tasting-Menu – djna Feb 20 '15 at 12:14
  • "Spotted Dick", anyone? This is British English and most Brits wouldn't bat an eyelid about its usage for its just the name of a delicious pudding. I am concerned that our American cousins might want to refer the matter to a specialist doctor. – Peter Point Aug 21 '16 at 21:48
  • But that said, I think it's incumbent on me to clarify that an "old slapper" may not want to eat a slap-up meal. There is no connection between these idioms. – Peter Point Aug 21 '16 at 22:05

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