A few years ago, when I was growing up, tea (the main meal of the day that was wrongly labelled) was really Dinner and always served up on the table at 5.30 when my father returned from work. As a family we would sit at our wooden table, in what could be described as a kitchen / diner in our home for our meal.
A recent survey has found that the majority of households now eat their evening meal on a sofa and only 25% use a dining table. We are losing what was an old tradition. You may well ask why does this matter and how does it affect our family interaction, healthy eating and table manners?
Social Interaction for Children growing up gives them valuable skills for later in life. When we are seated we interact and take part in discussion. Meals on a sofa feel more like a snack and often lead to eating for example with one hand and also taking a great deal more note of mobile phones, social media and of course the TV. Eating at a table gives a great opportunity for the whole family to share their day and anecdotes as well as disucssing in a informal way some very important issues. A study by Brian Wansink of Cornell University also suggests that eating at the table and interracting may well suppress overeating. I have recently written and completed a course about this called ‘Mindful Eating’ which has further research backing this theory up.
Health and digestion were also noted in the report as follows:
The report by Wansink further correlates eating from a sofa is connected with a higher BMI (Body mass index) in children and further reports identify that such conduct leads to a less healthy digestion rate and is therefore less healthy. A further report also states that your children will be assisted with their chewing and swallowing if they have the correct posture, when sitting at a table.
The Dining table, in whatever form, will also greatly assist with Table Manners too. Table manners seem to be something from the past. Manners and table etiquette were part of a cultural revolution and the use of cutlery an innovation of the eighteenth Century, as opposed to using fingers and ensuring that you did not spill food down yourself. I can’t help wondering if our modern love of portable food such as pizza will see us return to these ages in time in the future. Table manners can assist young people and children in navigating social situations with confidence, knowing when to talk and when to listen, eating mindfully and appreciating food much more. There are many children and young adults who do not have the opportunity to draw on these skills from their years of growing up and these days you appreciate that with the number of times when serving food you are asked, ‘what cutlery do I use first?’
Table Manners in brief are important for us all and really do assist us all in so many ways and more importantly allow us to enjoy our food much, much more.