Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Art of Eating

Just like there is an art of cooking, there exists an art of eating. What we eat, where we eat, how much we eat, when we eat, for how long we eat, why we eat, and with whom we eat all play a role in each eating experience. If we focus more on each of these aspects, might we get more pleasure out of eating? And if we obtain more pleasure from eating, will we be in better control of our eating? Would we be happier and healthier eaters?

A Reflection of My Eating Experiences on January 8, 2011:

Below I describe each of my eating experiences today. After each description I reflect on my experience by stating a few changes I could have made to make my meal more enjoyable.

Description: From 800 to 830am, Mason, and I sat down at the dining room table. A white, lunch-sized plate with one homemade pancake was cut in half. Eight ounces of soy milk in a short, clear glass, a small shot glass filled with warm maple syrup, and a glass butter dish, which was nearly empty, were placed just out of reach from Mason. I buttered 1/2 the pancake and cut it up into small pieces for Mason and placed it on an appetizer-sized plate in front of him. Both of our sections of pancake received a splash of the warm maple syrup.

Reflection: I could spread a little butter on my portion of the pancake also, and I could eat more slowly by matching each bite my son takes to mine.

Description: Between 1140am and 1200pm, I made chicken sandwiches on 6 inch baguettes with about 2 ounces of fresh roasted chicken breast, mixed greens, sliced tomato, avocado, and a generous amount of fresh cilantro. The sandwiches were eaten off a dinner-sized white china plate and enjoyed by me and George, while Mason picked at a few blueberries.

Reflection: Cutting our sandwiches in 1/2 and placing them on the plate in a way such that they rested diagonally on each other would have been more appealing to the eye. Acknowledging that although Mason was not choosing to eat with us, he was spending time with us at the table.

Description: In the afternoon while Mason was napping and George was out, I enjoyed a cup of fresh blueberries and blackberries in a yellow plastic bowl, eating them one by one with my hand while watching Julia Child on television.

Reflection: I could have put the berries in a glass dish with a sprig of mint and ate them with a small spoon while sitting at the dining room table.

Description: At 300pm I prepared a double cappuccino with homemade whipped cream in an 8 ounce white tea cup, which was placed on a saucer. I sat next to George on the couch sipping my cappuccino.

Reflection: George and I could have enjoyed a short "date" before Mason awoke from his nap by drinking our beverages together at the dining room table while listening to classical music.

Description: From 345 to 410pm I sat by myself at a small table for two in the corner of The French Bakery with a good book. Between paragraphs I nibbled on a chocolate croissant, which was served on a square white dish.

Reflection: I could have savored my croissant while enjoying more of the sights, sounds, and smells of the bakery, and then begun to read after finishing my food.

Description: Between 600 and 630pm, Mason and I warmed up a few leftovers from the previous evening's meal. On a lunch-sized white plate, I served about 4 ounces of salmon, 4 roasted baby potatoes, and 3 large pieces of sauteed broccoli.

Reflection: Waiting for George to come in from cleaning up outside before eating would have made dinner a better experience for all of us. Adding another course to our meal, such as a mixed green salad as an appetizer or a small dessert, would have been an improvement to dinner and probably prevented us from snacking in front of the television later that evening.

After preparing food, I need to think about presenting it in a more appealing way and serving it more slowly, for instance in additional courses. Then I need to be more patient and take more time while eating, thinking about the aroma, flavors, and textures of the foods, while conversing with those around me.

I encourage you to journal a day of your eating experiences and reflect upon each of them.

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