One of the book groups I belong to reads "food lit" — primarily memoirs and novels focusing on food and cooking.
The other day we had a lively discussion on the sad fact that while it may take the cook two days to prepare a wonderful meal, it only takes 15 minutes for the guests to eat it.
One woman remarked that it was the difference between "eating" and "dining." When you go out because you're in a hurry or don't feel like cooking, that's eating out; but when you want to celebrate food and enjoy good company, that's dining out.
Remember when you used to dress up in heels or a suit to go to a restaurant? When cell phones didn't buzz and jiggle their way across the table? When waiters didn't start grabbing plates before you took your last bite?
The truth is that in today's busy, busy world most of us have forgotten the joy of sitting around the table, eating and conversing (yes, actually talking without Bluetooth earpieces) with friends and family.
When I was a child, my parents had dinner parties where they and their friends could spend an hour or more at the table, eating and discussing current events, memories, and the trials of tribulations of raising kids--even politics. Meals were a social event, not a necessity of life to be dealt with as quickly as possible.
As the holidays approach, maybe we should all turn back the page and not only enjoy the wonderful food, but also treasure the moment . . .
. . . and leave the cell phone at the door.