Monday, August 28, 2006

the art of eating


Americans are in general lacking in appreciation for the fine art of food presentation and dining. Most look at food as mere sustenance ... or worse ... a necessity that they must grudgingly indulge by inserting the foodstuff in their faces as quickly as possible so that they may go about their normal lives. Restaurants whisk people to their seats and try to just as quickly whisk them out to make room for new customers. Where is the enjoyment? How many families still make it a priority to sit down for a leisurely meal and conversation at the end of the day? How many singles take the time to prepare meals of beauty and tasting pleasure?

17 comments:

R. Mansfield said...

Or another question--

How many American families--if they do eat together--sit at a table in a set aside dining area as opposed to the living room around a television?

My wife and I are guilty of that, and everyone I talk to does the same thing most of the time.

I'm guilty of it, but I don't like it.

Warren said...

I actually did more real food preparation when I was single, at least on my days off. And I do it periodically now, when my wife is willing to let me loose in the kitchen (I need a few sous chefs like they have on Food TV, to help me clean up after myself!).

Part of the problem, I think, is that it's gotten too easy to NOT do real meal preparation. But I do agree that presentation is a neglected art in America. We don't seem to care whether it looks good, as long as it tastes good.

byron said...

Speaking of food, I found this a very interesting discussion about theology and obesity. I'd love to hear some American perspectives on it.

ckhnat said...

me too ...

The Borg said...

How many singles take the time to prepare meals of beauty and tasting pleasure?

Yes, I do! Food presentation is very important. Especially since my staple is vegetable, I make sure it's well prepared - plain celery sticks are not too exciting.

I never eat in front of the TV (because I don't watch it), but I almost always have to have something to read while I eat.

In fact, I think it's perfectly acceptable for a family to sit at the dinner table and read silently together, so long as its quality literature.

But nothing beats a lively dinner table discussion, a tradition my family upholds for Sunday Lunch.

Priscilla said...

I am a wife and mother. I make a proper meal most of the time and we usually sit together to eat at the table and then have a scripture. This gets a little trickier when the kids are off to sports. My daughter's swim team usually practices during our normal dinner time...so she and I eat hurriedly and run out the door. Then there is my son's soccer and Awana (kid's group at church) We are typical of middle class family life with kids. Presentation? I usually don't worry about it too much. I do appreciate a beautiful presentation of food when I am served it.

As for the article Byron linked us to: I thought it was nasty and unnecessary. I don't buy into the findings that Christians are fatter than other Americans. I thought it was just another way to take a pot-shot at Christians in general. Gluttony is a sin...but so is pride and caddyness!!!!!

Priscilla said...

The word is supposed to be "cattiness". Sorry! I decided to look it up after I pressed publish! I hate spelling things wrong!

Chris said...

mmmmmm ... food ... I think that some Americans like well-presented meals. They can be a true art form, if done correctly. When I worked as a barista, I loved being able to present a good-looking cappuccino, or even better, a latte with a nifty looking design between the milk and espresso. But that fast-food culture has definitely been developing as of late.

But that's not why I came to comment today. I came to tell you I've come to a realization: your little anti-feminism crusade ... it's all about getting men to slave away, isn't it! I was reading through a book and ran across Mark 10:41-45, where Jesus says that if you're to lead, you have to serve first. Admit it - if men were to lead, we'd end up having to SERVE WOMEN!!! I protest, I think we should make women lead and then they would serve us!

... well, anyway, that's one way of looking at it, I suppose you could use that one to pitch to the feminazis out there ...

Jonny said...

chris: I think John Howard (a leader) would be the first to say he is there to serve the nation. To lead should be a humble position.

Talking about having dinner as a family, one would first think of the adds on TV, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints.

When I was younger our family always had sit down meals. Had to hold hands to say grace first. No TV was allowed. But the food wasn;t that good.

jnibby said...

My family and I still the battle the tea table every night....and the meal always lingers on for ages and ages.

Chris said...

jonny - just to be clear, we all know I was joking, right?

joking aside, yes, I think leaders are to be servants. Lead by example, first and foremost, but more than that, I think that so many servants are followed, and that makes them leaders.

Dani said...

I was reading through a book and ran across Mark 10:41-45, where Jesus says that if you're to lead, you have to serve first. Admit it - if men were to lead, we'd end up having to SERVE WOMEN!!!

Not sure how the comments have gone from food --> leadership and submission... but thought I would throw my two cents in ;) We had an excellent lecture on this topic the other day which really drove home the truth of your comment. A true and godly relationship of leadership and submission is a relationship which is designed to be most beneficial to the one who is called to submit- the example of course being the church submitting to Christ.

Chris said...

I believe it went that way because I was going to comment on a previous post, saw her post on food, and of course had to say something about that ... and somehow my mind wandered ...

ckhnat said...

it always somehow comes back to that

Jim said...

How many have time? I think the biggest barrier to enjoying the art of food presentation and dining in America is the fact that we are all just so gosh-darn busy all the time. We always run helter-skelter everywhere, and food is so much an afterthought that we don't generally care what it looks like, so long as it tastes good and keeps our bellies happy.

Now, my wife actually prefers to eat at home than eat out. She claims my cooking is better than most chefs at even the finest dining establishments. I don't know if that's actually the case, but I do know that when we have the time I love to make good food that looks good. In point of fact, my wife (teasingly) complains that the food looks so pretty that she doesn't want to eat it for fear of messing it up. Seems like that's something that all of us should be doing more of - taking the time to slow down and make mealtimes more of a family activity. I know I really need to.

Found your blog via your comment on Mark's blog. Some good stuff here!

Martha said...

When our kids were little we almost always had a regular sit-down supper. We set the table (or had the kiddos do it), gathered the family, said a prayer and ate together. The kids even had to ask to be excused when they were finished. And... we always served vegetable and the kids all ate them. Now, with fewer kids at home and more distractions, we are likely to pray and fill our plate in the kitchen and carry them outside to the picnic table or into the dining room. We don't watch TV and eat at the same time (unless it's pizza and a video).

Rachel said...

My husband, our 2 kids and I always eat dinner together at the table. It's the only meal we get to enjoy together most of the time. We pray together prior to eating our meal, then it's our time to catch up on eachother's day, and just enjoy being together. I think the food is usually good too if I do say so myself!