The Art of Eating Well

I’ve grown up in a family of foodies. Perhaps it’s the place we live, Dallas, and its never-ending supply of pleasant restaurants and good food. When considering spending time with a friend, my first thought is to suggest a meal together or a coffeeshop meet-up. Visit my home and my family will immediately and enthusiastically offer you food or drink, and then likely force you to take something (because who doesn’t love cinnamon bread). We love to sit together at the table with plates full of yummy food before us, it’s what we do.

Sitting alone to eat contrasts in so many ways.

You see, when eating with friends or family, there’s entertainment, but when eating alone, it’s just you and that bowl full of macaroni (who, I’m sure, is entertaining enough). One of the most clear pictures of my intense connectivity comes when I eat alone. I sit down, at a restaurant or at home, and immediately think “I need a magazine, my phone or something to do while I eat.” This reasoning stems out of my discomfort in being still and quiet. I want my time spent well; I want to accomplish something!

I challenge myself to eat alone without distraction. I put my phone away, refusing to photograph my food mid-bite, read the news or text my best friend. I don’t accomplish this every day, but I always enjoy the respite of a quiet meal. Allowing myself to take time and just be, to process through the day.

One of my favorite authors, Jennifer Scott, says this in her book At Home with Madame Chic, “Have your lunch with no distractions …Try not not to think about any problems. Having lunch this way will charge your battery. It will awaken you. Otherwise you will continue to dwell in the rat race of the mind. Eating lunch this way is positively decadent and very chic.”

Challenge yourself, eat quietly (and no, I don’t mean chew with discretion, even though that’s a great thing too). If you’re a foodie, take the time to fix a nice meal for yourself. If you like fancy things (I do!), make your meal pretty. Enjoy the time, excuse yourself from the thousands of distractions coming your way.

EssaysMary Grace Metheny