Earlier this year I experienced something that made me think about how we appreciate food. I tend to watch TV while eating meals, I have done for many years and on this particular evening I was watching The Worlds Most Dangerous Roads while eating a pizza, suddenly I realised that the pizza had pretty much disappeared. I didn’t remember eating it, by which I mean I didn’t remember what it was like. I did, however, remember the TV programme.
I realised that because I’d been concentrating on the events on-screen my mind had simply allowed the eating to be done autonomously, as though it were simply food for survival rather than enjoyment. I felt distinctly disappointed as it was a kind of food I like to taste and savour. For some people the TV is more important than enjoying food but not me.
There are restaurants where you eat in the dark and when I first heard about the concept, about how it enables you to appreciate the food more and experience all the nuances of flavour fully without even the distraction of seeing the food I thought it was just a fad, until the lost pizza.
Perhaps this is why we enjoy food more in restaurants or outdoors, whether it be a bacon cob or a picnic, with fewer distractions. TV is often a constant stream of events, taking your full attention as opposed to having it on in the background, or listening to music, or having a conversation with family or friends at the dinner table like we used to – all of which let you pay attention to everything in turn, including the food in front of you.