The Saving Grace of a Shared Meal
A number of recent studies have confirmed what we've intuitively understood all along: Eating with others keeps us healthier, happier, and better connected to each other. Even so, shared meals—especially ones at home—have been on the decline for some time. Busy parents find it hard to gather everyone around the table, much less have people over for dinner. Take-out and drive-through are a part of many Americans' routines. And let's face it: Having people over can be a pain. It's hard to get the house cleaned up and prepare several courses and spend hours eating and chatting and face a mountain of dirty dishes at the end of the evening. If there are children involved, things are that much messier; you face the prospect of pickiness, stains on the carpet, and people who scream or tell bathroom jokes at the table.
There is an element of vulnerability in all this: we may feel that we are on display, that we will be judged by our guests and found wanting, that our cooking may come ...1