Have you ever noticed how long it takes to eat? For most of us, not long at all. My mother gets picked on for eating slowly, when really it should be the other way around. Scarfing down food like its a race to see how much we can shovel in and swallow with as little chewing or awareness as possible. Focus is usually on the end goal of having a full belly, not enjoying the act of filling it. Many of us can think of reasons for this behavior (especially in America). But do we have ways to change it?
In an effort to make myself more aware, I have timed myself from picking up utensils to finishing the last bite. Fifteen minutes is about the average. Barely a fourth of the time it took to make the meal!
How slowly are you eating?
Like you, not slowly enough Robin. When I travel, I tend to eat more slowly. My son is a slow eater, for that I am thankful. He takes his time and he knows when he is full. The only time I worry about his eating habits is at school, when they have 30 minutes for lunch. However, even though I pack his lunch, he still has to wait for the others to get their meals before they can start eating...which leaves him about 20 minutes or less.
I think the way of changing it is by concious eating. Paying attention the bites we are taking. We can do this by putting out fork down between bites, savoring the flavors and enjoying the company or our family or friends that we are sharing our table with. I have found that I eat faster and more if the television is on or we are not at the table. One thing I have found is that when I cook Korean for my family or do a stir-fry, we eat slower because we use chopsticks.
We are a fast food society. Everything done by convenience. People don't slow down to go to the coffee shop and sit with their cup of coffee...it's in the car, on the run. That's how bottled water was marketed--you can take it on the run. The same way with fast food drive-thrus. It's quick, easy and you can have it in the convenience of your car while you travel from one location to the other. When you look at the convenience, along with the grossly exaggerated portion sizes in restaurants, larger plates being made that we fill up...you can see where if you are wolfing down your meal that you aren't hearing your hunger signals and eat more than what you would have had you taken your time. It's a vicious cycle. One that America has to break...especially concerning childhood obesity, etc..
Robin, I grew up in one of these, what do we call it now, dysfunctional families. No further diatribe from me, for I know for certain that I am not the only. Still, I was fortunate. It wasn't always dysfunctional all the time. There were some good family meal times, too. You take the lemons and you make the lemonaide. I learned to make some slow food dishes by myself. I am still criticized by what I do. I have learned to understand and to forgive.
What is the worst meal one can eat? From my experiences, what I can tell you is you sit down at the fancy restaurant and the fancy food shows up and you listen to someone tell you how more important they are than other people
Good food and good conversation go hand in hand.