Back when I was in the workaholic world I ate a lot of meals alone. By the time I came home from the office the rest of the family would have eaten already. So I’d have my supper alone. During the years of my long commutes I ate alone 6 nights per week. And when I was traveling on business, as I often was, I almost always ate alone. Eating alone became the norm.
There are times when it makes sense to eat alone. But eating alone should not be the norm. Whenever possible, meals should be communal and family affairs, as they always have been for us humans. I have great memories of the big table at my Granny’s house, for example, where the whole family ate together three times a day. No wolfing down a sandwich while watching TV. No room service in a hotel room. No reheated supper at the kitchen table long after the rest of the family has eaten.
If asked to recall some of our fondest memories of food, it’s likely that we’ll recall meals with family and friends, not meals eaten alone. If as a culture we went back to eating meals together, enjoying our food along with conversation and good company, it seems to me that would be a big step toward repairing our broken relationship with food. It seems to me that we’ll take the quality of our food more seriously when we take the quality of mealtimes more seriously.