Our family dinner tables are starting to look more and more like the picture above: filled with clutter, reading materials, and technology. In fact, if it weren’t for the place mats, we would probably assume that it is just another office desk. Therein lies the problem.
Where can good, healthy food even fit into a picture such as this? There’s probably only space for fast, convenience food, and certainly no room to hold a variety of dishes, nor is one going to be able to comfortably use a knife and fork. The setting is certainly not welcoming or inviting for a lengthy, quality, sit-down meal with the entire family. In fact, on the contrary, the table appears to convey a message that we are expected to do work here and if we do try to sneak in some eating, we should be multitasking with work and food simultaneously. Whoever is even thinking of just sitting down to eat at this dinner table should get away and pursue their fantasies elsewhere.
One person is having a stack of brochures and coupons for dinner. Looks like someone else will just be eating directly out of the grocery bag. Then there’s the person having the Macbook as the main course for his very heavy meal. At least the person sitting beside the Macbook has a novel off to the side, as perhaps the appetizer or side dish, so there’s a slight hope the main dish will actually contain food? Maybe there is room for one family member to sit and put real food on the mat, but it’ll be a quiet dinner for this person while everyone else is immersed in eating their own work.
How appropriate is it that the computer is placed perfectly on top of the place mat, as our current consumption of technology seem as routine and as part of our daily bread as, well, daily bread!
If this picture is the definition of dinner, then who would want to come home for dinner if the office meal probably would look and taste very similar? Just hearing what’s on the menu is enough to give one an upset stomach. Look closely at the picture and you can see how it is really not that far away from a potential eating disorder.