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The Devolution of the American Lifestyle

Foo Off-Topic chit chat with no general subject.
View Poll Results: Do you still eat in your dining room? 🍽️
I eat mostly on the run: car, bus, train, shop, office, etc.
1
2.04%
I eat only in my kitchen
8
16.33%
I eat at home, but not in my kitchen
18
36.73%
I generally eat in my dining room
13
26.53%
My dining room is a museum, except for Thanksgiving
6
12.24%
Other
3
6.12%
Voters: 49. You may not vote on this poll

The Devolution of the American Lifestyle

Old 06-15-19, 06:34 PM
  #1  
KraneXL
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The Devolution of the American Lifestyle

Does anyone still eat in their dining rooms, or kitchens at home? Be honest, this is a no judgement zone. I just want to know if anybody still use these rooms in their homes to enjoy their meals. Or do most everyone nowadays just "eat on the run" i.e., in trains, buses, automobiles, shop, office, walking down the street, etc.


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Old 06-15-19, 07:08 PM
  #2  
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With an modern open floor plan home like ours there is no "dining room".
We cook most of my own meals for ourselves, family and friends and we sit down to eat at the kitchen table together, mostly.
We are kitchen people helping in the tasks of meal prep and/or just hanging about in the comfortable open space adjacent to the kitchen but meals are a sit-down TV/Devices-Off tradition.
We don't own TV trays and if you want a meal it isn't carried off to be consumed in a bedroom, but complex schedules, illness and work times are accommodated as best as we can.

Out of the home one does as best as one can by not eating total junk and sitting down to enjoy it as much as one can, although walking along eating an occasional hot dog on a nice day works for me.
Wolfing down food-like substances in an automobile? Nope.

-Bandera
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Old 06-15-19, 07:16 PM
  #3  
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We eat in the living room

My dream home has bandera's style of open kitchen/living area. Right now our kitchen is pretty small thanks to apt living.
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Old 06-15-19, 11:32 PM
  #4  
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I usually take dinner out into the garden.
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Old 06-16-19, 12:47 AM
  #5  
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If at home, we generally eat in our dining room next to the kitchen. It's not one of those formal dining rooms like traditional larger houses may have, though.

I just prefer sitting at a table where the crumbs or whatever will fall back onto my plate.

Plus, eating at the table unplugged from the world is about the only way the family spends any time talking to each other as a group.

I do eat in my car driving from one service call to the next to save time on work days when I need to.

I'm the oldest in the house at 54, if that helps figure a demographic or not.

Last edited by FiftySix; 06-16-19 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 06-16-19, 01:23 AM
  #6  
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I grew up in the dining room tradition, but in some respects lost my affection for that tradition for the same reasons portrayed in the A.R. Gurney theater play The Dining Room. Too many domestic dramas were played out on various dining room tables in my youth.

It's a potentially valuable tradition, but only when all participants observe the fundamental rules of civility -- basically, the same rules for civility shown in the police family drama Blue Bloods. Unfortunately too many real life families drag their toxic baggage into the dining room.

I'm afraid I was guilty of that once as a guest at a holiday dinner and I regret it. I was still in a bit of shock over the behavior of some cousins and mentioned it in too much detail over dinner with friends. I'm not sure whether that specific incident was responsible, but that particular group of acquaintances never got together again. But I suspect it's mostly because of age, illness and deaths. Those of us who remained drifted apart.

Anyway, although I now live alone I tend to eat at the dining table, although my laptop is usually there too and I often eat while watching TV, movies or piddling on the computer. I rarely eat standing in the kitchen unless it's a quick snack like a peanut butter sandwich before a bike ride. I enjoy eating and cook proper meals for myself most days.

I still enjoy the sociable aspect of dining with friends, although that's usually at restaurants other than the occasional holiday gathering. We keep it informal so there's none of the baggage of my family issues.
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Old 06-16-19, 03:56 AM
  #7  
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Kind of a tricky question for an open plan house that doesn't have a formal dining room. Our last two houses have both had plans that had big wonderful kitchens that are part of a much larger space that includes a table used for dining, walls for art display, and open seating. What we don't have is the room dominating big screen TV.

My wife and both enjoy cooking... and entertaining a few close friends while doing so (we are not big party people... so hardly ever have more than 10 folks, total, at the house).

We make interesting dishes, invite music playing friends, set food on counters and table, and then sit around and play music.

Usually there is a prelude, as people arrive, and some sort of h'ordoeurve is prepared, drinks are offered... conversation happens... people chat and tune up. A main dish is finished, plates are grabbed... music pauses. Then plates are stacked, and music continues with great enthusiasm.

If it it isn't a night with friends... it is still a similar scene. Either the wife or I cook... she may play music or we may opt for some music selection. Or she and I might practice together. Dinner is served at the open kitchen counter (we have this "thing" about "presenting" a meal... we joke about it) then we eat at table or out on patio or deck. Or, occasionally, we go to "the TV room," and watch a movie. (Best done with a "neat" meal... like chili, or thick soup... something one plate/one bowl and portable.)

Yes, we cook and eat at home... but "dining room," not really. Big open kitchen/great room.

BTW... since there are only the two of us, we make meals that create leftovers... and then tend to alternate those later in the week. Monday dinner on Wednesday evening. Tuesday dinner on Thursday... Friday maybe out to a gallery opening or open mic, or a gig.

BTW, we are not formal fancy... we just enjoy living like this.

And while I am not a musician... I still quite enjoy all this and the energy of and with music. I do play...poorly, the ukulele. My wife is a wonderful singer... and guitar/uke/mando player. I am learning guitar/uke... but I will never have her ability... she has played since 13. Me... the last two years. Our son plays guitar... since 12... he is now 32. As an aside... I say this... teach your children to play music... it is a gift they will cherish later in life.

We also do all this while camping...

So, bottom line, no, we don't just grab and go with fast food. But neither do we have a "dining room."

BTW. Morning coffee is in the TV room... just to catch news and weather... then one of us whips up breakfast... I may do something with eggs... or Codie may do fruit or soothies. Sometimes, it's just leftover dinner. Sunday breakfast is slow and fancier. But that is just the one day a week.

Last edited by genec; 06-16-19 at 08:21 AM.
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Old 06-16-19, 07:12 AM
  #8  
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I have better digestion when I eat standing up. I don't have a standing height table, so I put the plate on a shelf.

Most people don't care about formal names of rooms. They have experience of improvising in crowded homes, such as using a living room as a bedroom.
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Old 06-16-19, 07:20 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
Does anyone still eat in their dining rooms, or kitchens at home? Be honest, this is a no judgement zone.
The title of the thread would suggest otherwise.
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Old 06-16-19, 07:56 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post

It's a potentially valuable tradition, but only when all participants observe the fundamental rules of civility -- basically, the same rules for civility shown in the police family drama Blue Bloods. Unfortunately too many real life families drag their toxic baggage into the dining room.
I have a rule for my family of no politics or religion at the table. Not a one of us is on the same page when it comes to politics or religion, and since I want everyone to finish their meals with a happy face and good digestion, we save the P & R for times other than eating.
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Old 06-16-19, 08:41 AM
  #11  
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BTW, the only time we really "observe the rules of formality..." are at holiday or near holiday meals when we do invite others to "share the table" with us... friends whose family is out of town, neighbors, acquaintances/coworkers with no near family. Basically we open our arms and share our foods. All we ask is that all guests be courteous to one another... no food fights or political/religious discussions.

Then we do set a table and sit at the table... and talk, and share.

Really, eat on the run... I did it when I was working and going to college at the same time... but otherwise, I make time for meals. I do skimp on lunches. But I believe in Breakfast and a nice dinner.

But again... "dining room?" Have not had one in my lifetime... have always had a table in the kitchen, or near the kitchen, or as I mentioned... my recent households have been open plan, with big kitchen/counter open space and a table nearby. More of a kitchen/living room all rolled into one. I love a big kitchen... you can talk to folks and invite them to assist. Even give "demonstrations" of some type of food prep. I've made bread with friends, cookies, and mole sauce, to mention a few things. Oh and grilling... of course... with an outdoor "kitchen." A grill with a table or some counter space... and just go to town. Funny this, I have done it at state parks and had folks come over and ask what I was making... "it smells so good." Hint: any grilled onions tend to draw a crowd. I have made stuffed poblano chilies peppers, over an open fire, for small groups of campers. Heck... there was a group of 7 (4 4WD vehicles) of us camping in Baja making things like lobster and pasta... (long story, we rescued a local fisherman... he rewarded us with 31 lobster.)

But... no dining room.
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Old 06-16-19, 09:39 AM
  #12  
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Yep, we have a covered patio connected to the indoor kitchen that serves double duty as an outdoor kitchen/lounge and gets lots of use year 'round.
With propane & charcoal grills and the highly useful induction cooker the smokey spattering mess goes outside for far easier clean-up and in our hot summers takes the heat of cooking off of the AC load.
We're fortunate that our friends and family know their way around a kitchen and pitch-in for prep and clean up as well as bringing some tasty dishes as guests, it's all part of the culture here.

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Old 06-16-19, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
Yep, we have a covered patio connected to the indoor kitchen that serves double duty as an outdoor kitchen/lounge and gets lots of use year 'round.
With propane & charcoal grills and the highly useful induction cooker the smokey spattering mess goes outside for far easier clean-up and in our hot summers takes the heat of cooking off of the AC load.
We're fortunate that our friends and family know their way around a kitchen and pitch-in for prep and clean up as well as bringing some tasty dishes as guests, it's all part of the culture here.

-Bandera
Exactly... but no "dining room," eh?
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Old 06-16-19, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Exactly... but no "dining room," eh?
Nope, and no formal "Parlor" closed off for all but special guests w/ plastic covering the upholstered furniture for 362 days per year like grandmother had.
A crazy idea but we thought that the indoor and outdoor spaces of the home needed to be open and designed to be casually lived in, useful for multi-purposes and connected when we downsized to ~2,600 sq ft. We like it so....

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Last edited by Bandera; 06-16-19 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 06-16-19, 10:47 AM
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I never really ate in the dining room, even as a child, unless it were a holiday or event happening. When my kids were younger we tried to start the tradition of eating in the dining area but that was more to do with the kids not getting food all over the furniture and carpet.
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Old 06-16-19, 01:42 PM
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Devolution?
Get Some:

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Last edited by Bandera; 06-16-19 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 06-16-19, 02:08 PM
  #17  
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Probably about 50% of meals consumed in the small dining area adjacent to the kitchen (my wife calls this a "nook").
Another 20 - 25% are consumed in the dining room.
The rest are enjoyed at the outdoor dining table or around the fire pit.

During the week I eat breakfast in my office after commuting in by bicycle.

In general, we don't eat in our cars, although we have grabbed a bite (bagels, or fruit) while rushing to the airport or other urgent situations.


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Old 06-16-19, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
Nope, and no formal "Parlor" closed off for all but special guests w/ plastic covering the upholstered furniture for 362 days per year like grandmother had.
A crazy idea but we thought that the indoor and outdoor spaces of the home needed to be open and designed to be casually lived in, useful for multi-purposes and connected when we downsized to ~2,600 sq ft. We like it so....

-Bandera
Agreed... I love bringing the outdoors in and vice versa. Last home had a 12 foot sliding glass door that opened up to a natural stone garden. Pretty sweet.

Gotta figure out how to "move a wall" like that on the next home.

There are a couple places I frequent that use well made garage type doors to do something similar... the doors open up to outside decks when the weather is suitable. The whole place becomes one big open air room.

Some friends of mine put a nice open air room on top of a lower level garage... they live on a slope and put the garage on the low level, and the open room at the "ground" level... it is very sweet... has a fireplace for cool evenings. Has a nice outdoor kitchen.
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Old 06-16-19, 03:22 PM
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We have a 1920s bungalow with a fairly open living room connected to the dining area with an archway. Every night, my SO and I have "family dinner" at the dining room table. In a modern twist from how I grew up (family dinner while watching the news on TV), we read the news on our phones and talk about it over dinner.

It helps that we have fast food like once every three years.
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Old 06-19-19, 11:36 AM
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Dinning room for meals with the family. If I'm by myself I sit in the living room in front of the TV.
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Old 06-19-19, 11:54 AM
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Unless we're watching a movie in the home office, eating meals happens at the dinner table, sometimes at the table on the deck. The kids will often snack outside, though.
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Old 06-19-19, 12:24 PM
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We don't have a dining room, our kitchen is connected to the family room. The den is separate, but it's fairly open. But we still dine at the kitchen table as a family most of the time.
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Old 06-19-19, 12:40 PM
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I don't have a dining room table. One of the things on a long list.

I eat in my office at work at my desk surfing various forums I frequent at lunchtime. I rarely eat anything at home. It's just me and I generally cook big on the weekends and throw full meals in the freezer for lunch at work.

If I should pick something up on the way home to eat, I eat on the couch catching a video or 2 on youtube. Else the eating at home is usually a salad just wolfed down on the couch. If my girls are with me, we eat out a lot, but eat in the living room when home since I don't yet have a dining room table. My old couch had a fold down table but the new one doesn't so it makes eating more difficult. They learned from their mother to lean back, relax, and drop food all over themselves. I can't eat like that.

I do have a small desk in the living room I sometimes eat at.

If I fire up the Weber for a nice steak (along with 20 burgers and dogs, sausages, chops, and other things to cook and put in the freezer) I'll chill out on the front patio and eat. I do have a small table and chairs out there. It's usually too humid to bother with outside though. I sweat like mad just sitting in the humidity even if the temperature is cool, sometimes taking 3 showers a day in the summers.
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Old 06-19-19, 02:22 PM
  #24  
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I also don't have a 'dining room', more of a 'dining area'. But we do have 'The Dining Table', a 7-foot (4-foot without leaves) solid cherry table (which I commissioned from an Amish carpenter when I lived in OH). The family (2 parents 3 kids) eats dinner together there most every night. Sunday nights are usually a leftover/microwave free-for-all, maybe one other night per week something else is going on such that we're dispersed, but usually we sit down together and 'have dinner'. Lunches are always ad-hoc, but whoever is home will usually sit at the table. Breakfasts are more often skipped or on the go than at the table.

My wife is forever on the kids to eat their snacks at the table, and not at the computer desk or on the couch or upstairs in the bedrooms, but that's about keeping crumbs contained.

I heard a story on NPR a number of years back about how this is a significant cultural change across the U.S. It used to be a dinette set would be the first purchase for a new couple or new young adult setting up on their own. But it has gotten to where there are tons of families across the country who never have (and maybe never will) buy a dining table&chairs, and do all their eating around the TV.

I like to think that our family's regular practice of gathering around the table has made for (is making for) stronger family bonds and more character instilled in the kids, regardless of how trivial the 'conversation' seems on any particular evening. I hope when my kids get married and raise families they will eat together regularly.
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Old 06-19-19, 02:26 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
As an aside... I say this... teach your children to play music... it is a gift they will cherish later in life.
+1000000

Would be worth a separate thread/poll. I have heard literally hundreds (if not over 1000) of people tell me they wish they never quit whatever instrument they dabbled with in middle school. I have NEVER heard anybody say "I played X for a year or two, but I quit and I'm glad I did".
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