Eating is something we all do every day - it’s an essential part of human life. But dining ‘properly’, perhaps in a more formal fashion than many of us are now used has been relegated to special occasions only, in many households. Enjoying a meal, whether with others or alone, without the distraction of phones, the television or even a busy mind that just can’t switch off from a working day, can feel out of reach and unfamiliar. Because of this, you may find yourself giving in to the un-ending wrestle to get the family in one space or your favourite TV program beckoning you to the sofa, but despite the appearance of convenience, sitting at a clear table with good company, good cutlery and good intentions is easier than you think - and an awful lot better for both your emotional and even physical wellbeing.
Instinctively, we all know this. Meal times have always been a moment in the day, however brief, to collect yourself, allow your brain some much-needed downtime and connect with other human beings, over the shared satisfaction food can bring. These days social interaction is constant, with emails pinging, texts, calls and social media always just a smartphone away, but true connection is dwindling. Here at Studio William, we believe that it’s time to bring back the dinner table, for a much happier and, even, healthier dining experience.
Giving ourselves the time to a real break is a rarity these days. Our days are often full to the brim and fast-paced societies have got us into the habit of prioritising ‘doing’ over ‘being’. As a result, our health and wellbeing suffers, but meal times offer the ideal opportunity to rectify this.
Busy days are often the downfall of a proper supper, with exhausted diners eating a whopping 60% of meals in front of the TV, in the UK alone. But in doing so, this percentage are so distracted from the joy of a good meal that they are overeating by an average of 15% and indigestion is a common complaint.
In contrast, dining at the table, distraction-free with friends, family or by yourself has been proven to vastly enhance the overall experience of food, lower your BMI (Body Mass Index), and boost psychological wellness. Doing so with just a few sensorial tweaks to the environment can further improve a meal - read more about how to achieve this on our blogs covering the organoleptic properties of visuals, audio, smell and touch.
Eating on-the-go is another bad dining habit a lot of us have fallen into - either grabbing a sandwich on the run or even standing in the kitchen after having prepared food. Simply sitting down at the dining table and allowing yourself a little more time to eat, with cutlery in hand, can help to prevent the effects of stress-eating like bloating and poor digestion.
Bringing the dinner table back into your life and enjoying a ‘proper’ dining ritual every day offers an array of benefits and is just generally a great way to delight in the company of your family, partner or even yourself. With true social interaction being an inherent part of human nature, ensuring you get a healthy dose of this at the dinner table can vastly improve your life!
Eating with the kids is great for parents and children alike, as this experience helps to build feelings of security and provides the perfect time to talk and share about each of your days, raising any problems or celebrating achievements in the process.
Trying to get the whole family sitting down for a meal may seem a daunting task, but there are tricks you can try to make it easier! You could introduce them to the wonders of cooking, or even table presentation or formal place settings by asking them to help. Even if they don’t wish to eat, you could encourage them to join the table for family time, rather than for the food. In no time at all, they’ll be wanting to tuck in!
The dining table is a place for eating and socialising - so do all you can to keep it that way. It is only good etiquette to leave phones aside, switch off the TV and focus your attention on the delicious meal in front of you and the people you are with, there and then.
And of course, eating alone can be a fantastic experience too! Treat yourself to good quality cutlery, plateware and stemware (you’re worth it!), your favourite music and a thoughtfully prepared meal. Practising alone time with as much care and attention as you would put into spending time with others promotes self-confidence and general contentment.
Lack of a dinner table need not be a hindrance, there are plenty of ways to enjoy your meal without one. Consider this is your chance to get creative! You could kneel around the coffee table like the Japanese, or sit on pillows like the Turkish. An indoor picnic needs no table at all and makes for a fun and intimate feast (don’t forget to use your Studio William Sporks!).