The Right Idea
When it comes to dining, I think the Italians have the right idea. If you’ve ever had the privilege of being seated around an Italian dinner table, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s laid back, relaxed, unhurried, and the ambiance exudes warmth and conviviality.
And the dinner IS the evening – it’s not the prelude to something else. It’s seldom served before 8 p.m., and if you’re dining out, once you’re seated, the table is yours for the night. There will be no pressure for you to leave to make way for a later booking, and your waiter will not bring the check until one is requested.
Most of their meals include several courses. It’s a way to break up the meal into divisions oftentimes each with its own theme, but it also introduces pauses in the meal which gives diners time to refresh their palate and to socialize. This can add drama, intensity, and sensuality to the meal. It gives a chance for diners to not only talk about the course they have just finished, but also the course that is forthcoming. This progression and timing allows the conversation and intimacy of the group to commingle with the wonderful food and drinks.
I think many diners are seeking experiences such as this. That might explain the popularity of a tasting menu – a wonderful way to spend an evening tasting an exciting array of dishes.
We can employ these concepts into our dinner parties. We can offer any or all of the following courses: appetizer, antipasto, a first course such as pasta, and a main course served with sides. A green leafy salad might be offered after the main course, perhaps a bit of cheese, and then dessert. Coffee can be offered and/or a digestivo to aid the digestion. Now, doesn’t this sound delightful?
A Sharp Contrast
This is in sharp contrast to our culture and lifestyle which seems to be constantly hurried. As Americans we need to just slow down, not only in the way we eat, but in other things as well. Besides, slow is better. Slow is cool. Just ask the Pointer Sisters.