Meal times are usually conversation times, if one is at home and everyone else is also at home. Slowly the first mouthful is swallowed and the stories begin.
You know what happened yesterday . . .
Ears perk up and the mouthfuls become slow and steady. Sometimes, I find it extremely difficult to concentrate on the food and on the equally delicious talk. I love both to bits. Then to add a flavour from times of yore, my mother adds her bits to the conversation that was started by my sister. She adds colour and antiquity to the interesting string of stories. Me, being the teacher starts a string of related student stories.
The conversation flows.
The food slowly but surely finds its place in our tongues. We savour the flavours of the food and the talk.
The plate goes empty. The stories run.
The juices and the remains of the food are slowly polished off clean. The act of polishing serves a double-fold purpose: It cleans the plate and it prolongs the act of eating.
After the plates, it's the turn of the fingers. In between hearing stories that leave us asking for more, the fingers are licked clean. And I don't know why the remains of the food sticking on the plates and the hands are the tastiest bits. The chatter continues non-stop.
And, in a moment of brief silence, the first person who has had enough tries to get up. NOOOO. PLEEEAAASSSE, we protest. Don't get up to wash your hands. If you wash your hands, the mood and the chain of conversation will break.
My mother always remarks, "The drier the hands get, the juicier the conversation gets."
The person eventually gets up. Ah, we lose interest. The conversation breaks off. The bits of food on the hands and the plate are viewed with distaste. The magic evaporates. We return to life and that is clearing the dishes away and washing them.
(I guess the same happens even while eating with forks, knives and spoons. But somehow for me, eating with spoons does not create the same magic. I have to use my hands and in the end lick them clean. Wow!)
What happens in your meal times while at home with family?
Image 1: Internet