As busy parents, taking the time to enjoy special meals together can be a challenge, but the holidays are approaching, which gives us plenty of opportunities for some teachable moments. Let’s explore the difference between eating and dining.
Try New Cuisines Together
You can certainly, and sometimes literally, spice things up in the food department by trying new experiences and cuisines. Perhaps your significant other comes from a different background, like Jamaica or Senegal; enjoying the native foods of your country is a beautiful approach to getting to know each other intimately. Or you can simply try something random, like this easy Spaetzle (German egg noodle dumplings) recipe seeped in traditional Bavarian flavors from the alpine regions. Learning about foods from other countries is a great way to learn about geography. Pull out that globe that is sitting on a desk, spin it, and find a food to make and explore.
“Families who dine together…”
Play with Lighting
Making dinner special for your family can bring out the best in any meal. Or even just to relax, toning down the lighting in your dining room or eating area helps not only you unwind but it will calm down the kids. It also heightens other senses. Candles are an excellent way to subtly light a room and have a way of soothing the experience. Have your children to close their eyes and tell you what smells they sense. Or perhaps you could create a lighting profile using your preferred smart home device if you have smart bulbs installed.
Mood is Part of the Difference Between Eating and Dining
Further to experimenting with lighting to enhance the dining experience, you can establish some rules for setting the mood. It’s often helpful to make a point of not discussing certain things when dining with extended family that are invited. For example, we don’t talk about religion, politics, or sports at the table. The art of holding a conversation can take some time to master, however. Try playing some calming music that all of your family will enjoy.
Set the Table Like a Professional
Dressing the dinner table is an excellent way to make the experience more enjoyable. Include the children and teach them about where each setting belongs. Begin with a delicate tablecloth that matches your decor. From there, select your favorite china that complements the colors of your cooked dish. Only give your child real china if they are old enough to handle it. And layer up your dinnerware like a restaurant. For example, placemats, plates, and bowls. And finish it off with serviettes and napkin rings.
Polish Up Your Dinnerware and Glasses
Finally, you need a way to make all of your efforts literally shine. Retrieving your dinnerware and glasses from the back of the cupboard is just the start. In storage, they can lose their shine and get covered with dust. Polish up any wine or drink glasses you intend to use. And give your china and cutlery a good cleaning. Any polished and cleaned dinnerware and glasses will bounce the light of your candles around the table for dramatic effect. Remember to use electric candles around young children.
The difference between eating and dining is the extra effort you put into a meal, the setting, and each other. Use these moments to teach your kids about new foods and cultures, including their own. Try new cuisines for fun, set the mood, and make sure everything sparkles.