Did your mother ever tell you not to put your elbows on the table? John’s did, and he’s a Yankee. Mine did, and I’m a Southerner. It’s just the American way!
Ever just “grab a bite”? Ever wolf down lunch, trying to cram something other than food or fellowship into your lunch hour? Ever look up to see your dining partner texting or otherwise i-phone intoxicated? Ever wonder why the only time teenagers are quiet is when the dinner bell is rung?
It’s because we’re missing the fine art of eating!
The French have it down pat, from the youngest to the oldest. Our mothers would go crazy in France because everyone leans forward, elbows on the dining table. Why? To engage each other in conversation at the table. In every restaurant, either at lunch or dinner, regardless of whether its the only restaurant in the village or one of Paris’ 7,000 plus, young and old alike “share” their meal together.
No one is in a rush to finish and the conversation flows like a swift, quiet stream, not disturbing those at the next table. I-phones and other devices are nowhere in sight (although they have them), and the focus is on the one(s) they’re with and the food they are enjoying, whether white-collar professionals or blue-collar laborers.
They savor their food… and one another. This was our universal experience in France.
It’s difficult to capture in a photo as it’s an “experience”, because for them that’s what dining is. Whether it’s two men enjoying their lunch on a rainy day…
a father-son outing (it was a business holiday for the dad and son was allowed to play hookey just so they could be together)…
crowded tables for two in a Paris bistro…
or four old friends after a three hour dinner together.
The bottom line is the same: they enjoy each other, the food and that special time. They’re connected! That’s the difference between the French and us. Let’s make our mealtime with one another special. Let’s connect!