Eating a meal at the dining room table, set with cloth napkins and nice dishes, is something I’ve done hundreds of times in my life. It’s my favorite way to enjoy a meal – I’m not a huge fan of eating while sitting in front of the TV. Don’t get me wrong. If I’m home by myself, I eat at the kitchen bar counter (with Netflix or YouTube playing on my laptop). But balancing everything on my lap at the couch or trying to manage a flimsy TV tray makes a meal much less enjoyable, in my opinion.
There are several other reasons why I serve meals at my kitchen table.
1. Eating at the table is much more conducive to conversation than eating in front of the TV.
This is pretty obvious, but it is worth discussing. Since we don’t have children, there is plenty of time during the day for Paul and I to do the general “how was your day?” routine. At the table we end up talking about big things…vacation plans, hopes and dreams for various careers, people we are concerned for, holiday plans and more. For people with larger families, the supper table is a wonderful place to reconnect during the busyness of the week!
2. Eating at the table is a great place to teach and to practice good manners.
I encourage you to require the same behavior at your supper table as you would at anyone else’s supper table. If you don’t want your children to talk with food in their mouths or to get up from the table without permission at your pastor’s home (or anywhere else you want to make a good impression), don’t let them do those things at home. I appreciated being raised with high expectations for supper table manners – I have never felt intimidated in any dining situation.
As an adult, I find that eating at the table helps me to practice my good manners. It’s good to practice setting my utensils down in between bites, cutting meat in a polite way, passing serving bowls and so on.
3. Eating at the table helps me make my family feel special.
All the women in my family are experts at setting pretty tables. My mom, my Nana, Paul’s mom and my aunts have such a gift for it! I will confess, I have to work at it. I’m not crafty or extremely creative so I look to Instagram and magazines for inspiration (Southern Living and Better Homes & Gardens are my favorites for this). I know how special I feel when I arrive at one of their homes for a meal and find the table set with pretty linens, nice dishes and a centerpiece. Giving my family the same treatment I appreciate tells them that I value them!
Paul really prefers to eat at the couch, and we do still eat there several nights a week. We like watching Jeopardy while we eat (yes, we are only in our 30’s, haha!) and I don’t mind pulling out the TV trays for a few week nights. However, Sunday and at least one other night during the week is reserved for the kitchen table. I set it with a tablecloth or cloth place mats, cloth napkins and a knife, fork and spoon. Most of the time I put all our food in serving dishes and place them on the table. One of us will turn on some music before we sit down. I snap a picture for Instagram, and then we eat!
Do you eat your meals at the kitchen (or dining room) table? If not, I hope you’ll try it just once a week. I don’t think you’ll regret it!