Sitting down for a meal, for at least 30 minutes, is important to me. I love the rituals around meal time and look forward to it.
First things first :
- Eat at the table. We always eat at the table, never in front of the tv.
- Clear the table of computers, papers, school books, or anything else that has nothing to do with the meal. Setting the stage makes enjoying your food that much better because you are not distracted by all the clutter.
- Set the table. A nice looking table is more welcoming and invites you to enjoy.
- Eat together. We eat together in the evening at least 5 times a week. We enjoy this time to connect with each other as a family. We talk about events, ask the kids how they have understood certain situations they have heard about from the media, debate, discuss our day, discuss what we want to do on the weekend, discuss a recent film… doesn’t matter what. We are communicating without technology.
- No cell phones. You can not be talking with each other if you are using your phone. And French teenagers are also highly addicted to theirs !
- Wait for everyone to be at the table to start eating and wait for everyone to finish before changing courses or getting up. This forces you to be in tune with each other and forces you to sit for a while as not everyone eats at the same rhythm.
- Slow down. Putting your knife and fork down between bites allows you to be conscious of what is going into your mouth, and allows you to talk to the other at the table. Food is so much better when not rushed ! Butternut squash, been beans, lamb, glass of wine. Too good !
This has gotten more challenging, as my kids are now teenagers. Between cell phones, needing to do homework, wanting to watch a film… all excuses are good to rush the meal. So it might take a little extra effort to keep this kind of behavior and ritual going, but it’s worth it. Life would be sad if we only used technology to connect to people.
Enjoying table time is 30 minutes a day where we connect as a family. And in the hustle bustle of today’s world, those 30 minutes together are precious.
What meal ritual do you have ?