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How do you Eat Dinner?

  1. Jan 26, 2016 #1


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    When I was a kid, my family had dinner together every night. Very few exceptions were given - school events, sports commitments, or work were acceptable reasons not to be home for dinner.

    I kept the same custom when my daughter was growing up. It always surprised me that we were unusual in that respect - the majority of families I knew had dinner sitting on the couch in front of the TV.

    In college, of course, meals were much less "scripted". But I loved it when my life was finally stable enough to get back to a nice, relaxed, sit-down-and-eat-a-home-cooked-meal habit.

    So I'm wondering-
    • How did your family have dinner growing up?
    • How do you eat dinner now?
    • If you haven't had kids yet but would like to someday, how would you like to see dinner served?
    • What is your age, or what stage of life are you in?
    • Where do you live and/or what is your culture?
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  3. Jan 26, 2016 #2


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    As a child, I too sat down at a dinner table every night with the whole family. No television was allowed at dinner time, and this was long before cell phones existed. Both my parents had jobs, and not necessarily the 9 to 5 shifts either. But as I recall, dinner time was the one part of the day where we could all enjoy our time together as a whole family. So dinner consisted mostly of just eating and complaining.

    In high school I had my own part-time job and it very often interfered with the dinner schedule (not to mention it was a food service job, so I would often eat at work while on break). Because of that, I quickly got into the habit of whipping up some food for myself and eating alone.

    In college, for those couple of years while living in a dormitory, I often ate with friends at a table in the cafeteria. That was probably the last point in my life that I had a regular sit-down-at-the-table dinner time. Later, I lived off-campus in a tiny little studio apartment. I did not own a TV. At that time in my life I became accustomed to making myself sandwiches while listening to Larry King on the radio.

    Now I'm quite a bit older and sort of temporarily semi-retired, but I still live alone. Dinner for me these days consists of sitting in front of the computer while shoving microwavable crap down my pie-hole.
  4. Jan 26, 2016 #3
    Not so unusual imo. I find it normal. :smile:

    All sitting in the same table and ate in complete silence. When my sisters and I would break out laughing, because I don't know kids laugh at odd stuff, we would get scolded by our father. It was a very serious atmosphere.
    Now I eat at odd hours when everyone is sleeping or doing something else. Usually eat while walking around and jumping all over the place. Make weird Karate noises when cutting the bread and so on. (I'm not Kung Fu Panda in case you are wondering :biggrin:) (Almost cut my finger with a knife not so long ago while cutting something like a Ninja. An awfully skilled Ninja if you ask me. LOL! Luckily the finger bone stopped the knife from fully cutting through. I definitely felt the knife connect with my bone.)
    Doesn't apply.
    My age? Meh... still not 25, but not a teen either.
    ... My culture was to eat with your family, but technology has changed stuff. Now people usually eat alone in front of their phones and computer screens. It was something like everybody starts eating at the same time and you do not leave the table until everybody else finishes. If you have to leave you said "Excuse me" and proceeded to leave in a very respectful manner. Before starting to eat you would say... um... I don't know how to say it in English... it's a gentle expression denoting something like wishing that the other person enjoy the food. In Japanese is something like: "Itadakimasu"? I don't know. You would use words like: "Pass me the Ketchup please". Note the emphasis in the please. And in resume it was a respectful way of eating. Not anymore.
  5. Jan 26, 2016 #4


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    Do you feel anything important has been lost due to technology? I know it makes me sound old, but I think the change is not for the better. (Well maybe I am old! :oldbiggrin:)

    I think to people who are not familiar with routine sit-down dinners, it might seem awkward and too formal. But usually dinner was a time to talk about your day, commiserate, share a laugh.
  6. Jan 26, 2016 #5
    I don't feel a loss, I enjoy Karate chopping my bread when nobody's looking. I'm just kidding :biggrin:. (But I do enjoy Karate chopping my bread when nobody's looking :cool:)

    There's definitely the fact that some teens are (and that number may continue to grow) unable to understand that it just feels nice behave formally because it is always nice to be kind and respectful to others. And when others are kind and respectful to you it also feels nice, like in peace. I think that is a feeling that has been getting lost by people no longer eating together in the same table and may get completely lost.

    About communication getting lost, I don't think I can talk so much on the subject. I've never been one to understand human communication for starters. But I do understand formalism and the kindness that comes with it. And eating together in the same table was something that used to keep that alive.

    You still eat in the same table with someone or you miss it?
  7. Jan 27, 2016 #6
    When I was growing up we had dinner together and talked about our day. But sometimes my father was drunk so the atmosphere was not very pleasant because he would get angry for stupid small reasons. Anyway, we ate together.
    At high school I lived in a dorm so all the students and staff ate in the dining room at the same time. Talking was allowed.
    Both in my childhood and at HS we would have proper meals cooked from whole foods, no junk.
    At uni things got worse and I usually had some junk. We ate in our dorm rooms in front of laptop.

    Now I live with my parents again (for some serious reasons) and we eat together at the same time but often times everyone eats something else.
    I'm 28 and my culture is central European. As someone above said, it is also customary to say "enjoy your meal" to everyone sitting at the table with you. After the meal you should thank the cook, but this depends on the situation, relationships and quality of the meal.
    I would definitely want to have proper dinner with my children. It's very important to eat together at least once a day. Both from cultural and psychological perspective.
  8. Jan 27, 2016 #7


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    We do eat together - in the front of TV. It was more or less always this way, as far as I can remember.

    These days it is in many aspects funny, as this is one of two moments we watch TV a day - the other one is the main edition of the evening news.
  9. Jan 27, 2016 #8


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    Same here. Which is probably why, when my daughter visits during a holiday and I prepare a special meal, I'll insist that we eat at the dinner table.
  10. Jan 27, 2016 #9


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    In my younger days, i'm over 50, we all sat around the table in the dinning room on a Sunday, no exceptions unless one of us was ill, when my mom became ill that custom faded away , now it is trays in front of the telly, i do long for the days when there was only the BBC and the TV was only switched on at certain times.
    By the By we all ways had a pudding another tradition that has died.
  11. Jan 28, 2016 #10
    >>> How did your family have dinner growing up?

    Dinner was usually at the kitchen table, but after we got a TV in the late 50s we usually ate in front of the TV. In that case We used those little folding one man TV Dinner tables.

    >>> How do you eat dinner now?

    At the kitchen table - dinning room got eaten by my office. (Don't have no stink'n TV but there is a movement a foot to add Roku to the Media Room where no eating is permitted.)

    >>> If you haven't had kids yet but would like to someday, how would you like to see dinner served?

    Don't have, never wanted, but I'm the cook and anyone who doesn't show my cooking the respect of sitting down with me at the table to eat it doesn't get any. If I had children I think it would be the same.

    >>> What is your age, or what stage of life are you in?

    Sweet spot between being way to old to die young, yet too young to have experienced the
    horrors of extreme old age and hoping to checkout before then. Woo-Hoo!

    >>> Where do you live and/or what is your culture?

    Mid Atlantic Appalachian Mountains. High Counter Culture (was wearing jeans and tennies to Bach concerts and undermining the establishment before it was hip).
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