The French have made it a habit to gather together around the table for a meal. They wouldn’t be caught dead eating their lunch in front of a computer desk or eating their croissant as they run to catch the metro. This is because eating is a respected ritual, not a mandatory thing the French do just to fuel up their bodies.
The French Table and Why the French Always Eat at It
Where’s the pleasure in eating a warm butter croissant when you’re cramped up against a bunch of people in the subway? Wouldn’t you rather sit down at your dining table with a nice cup of coffee or tea and savor every bite of that mouthwatering creation?
French people see eating as a pleasure, so their surroundings must be pleasurable as well. They take this to heart so much so that even the plates and utensils they use to serve their food on is beautiful.
During my first few trips to France, I didn’t know if French people really used such nice plates at home. My dining experiences had been limited to restaurants, and restaurants tend to always serve nice plates and silverware anyways.
When I started making French friends and visiting their homes, I realized a beautiful set up was just part of the French table tradition, and was practiced inside the home as well.
I always had a beautiful plate, cloth napkin, shiny silverware, and delicate glassware placed before me. And the effect is truly astounding.
I was once served a simple fennel salad on one of these settings, and I ate that salad like it was expensive caviar. I pierced into the fennel with my fork slowly and delicately, feeling like I was a princess or some kind of royalty.
If I had been served that salad on a paper plate, or something equally unremarkable, I might have scoffed at the amount of salad (it was petite), and I most likely wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much. The salt would have completely lost its enchanting quality.
The French also sit down at a well-set table knowing that it has the effect of slowing a meal down. You’re more likely to relax and take your time eating than if you were walking or standing.
I personally love that the French take such care in sitting down to eat. I truly believe that creating inviting environments where we can eat satisfying meals with pure enjoyment is just one of the many ways we can lead healthier and happier lives.
What do you guys think? Do you practice this in your own life?