Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How we eat is who we are. Or will be..

Lunch under the tree, Constantia

One of my favourite soapboxes is about eating. Not about eating artfully or expensively or for three hours over eight courses. Or eating under the tree like this, above. No

But about every day. About what we eat. And with whom. And where. And how often. It is a feeling in - appropriately - my gut that sitting down, whether we are alone, or with our one, two or seven person family, with our plate of food and our glass of wine or water or milk, is a good way to hold our lives together, inside and out, and also to plan - not only in words but quite subconsciously - where they are going.

Not only does the food we eat demand some respect and consideration, but so do the people we live with. And if we find we cannot give them that, it is time to move out and to move on. But for our children, that is not an option. We may see them every day, but sitting down to eat, together, also gives us the chance to - forces us, really - to look each other in the eye while chewing, and listen. And to talk. To them.

So this Eat Well to Be Well article in the Times appealed to me. Though I still add the argument that while we might be eating proper food (as so many are not) - fresh fruit, vegetables - how and where we eat is just as important in terms of where our emotional lives are headed.

Emily Post must be loving me right now but regardless: At table - or at picnic on the grass or living room floor, for that matter - we learn manners, which to me, means a basic kindness, basic consideration, basic generosity, basic discipline. It is also one of the simplest places where we can express interest in our children, in our parents, in one another.

The End.


  1. I think it is very important to sit down at a table for EVERY meal. I would fetch the kids from school and we would sit at the table and eat a simple salad or sandwich and TALK.
    In summer we would eat at the table on the stoep. Lots of veggies and salads, every day. And meat. Their friends were always amazed that to us, that was the way to do it. Now that they are at varsity, they miss that the most.

  2. Now I want a sandwich :-)

    Ja, ek stem saam. It's very easy not to do it, too easy.

  3. Amen. Absolutely. Without a doubt, true.

  4. Co-incidentally, I am reading Daivd Kesler's book The End of Overeating, which is about the corruption of food -- almost any food -- into an addictive substance composed of the hyperpalatble, crack-like triumvirate of salt, sugar, and fat. It's riveting, and scary, and making me (as the saying goes) mad as hell.

  5. melanie, on that subject, my only brush with addiction has been with Doritos! Seriously, I can't eat them. There's just no middle ground.

  6. Food and conversation are at the very core of human evolution.
    And if I can add even a sprig of some herb in a jam jar to the mix, so much the better!

  7. Yes, dinamow - the herb in the jam jar is important. It's a small consideration for one's self (if there is not another person) or for the Other, if there is.

  8. I read this, just after coming in, eating from a bag of Fairway peanuts. Betsy is not home, I'm not sure what's happening for dinner.

    Marie, when I think of you, the blog you, I think of food more than anything. Your meals look amazing, and I always think -how does she know how to do that. And it looks and reads like it matters -enormously.

  9. Thank you, Frank :-)I do care, maybe too much. I believe, is all...And sometimes it's nice to eat from a bag of Fairways nuts.

  10. Marie
    This post just confirms how I feel about mealtime. And food.
    My husband just started a new job and the boys' sport training times changed so this term we don't eat our evening meal together for 3 days of the week. And it upsets me. There is a saying (don't know the origin) "A family that eats together, stays together.) I believe that. At least we still have a sit-down breakfast together every morning.

    I also like what you say about respecting the food. I haven't thought about it that way before. But it is true that a sit-down meal is usually better planned and healthier that an on-the-run meal.


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