I eat alone. Not only because I’m comfortable with it, but also because no one else is comfortable with my schedule.
Breakfast at 6 am. Lunch at noon. Dinner at 7 pm.
From where I come, that’s insane. But that’s how I am, and I don’t expect anyone to comply with my schedule either. I’m perfectly fine with eating alone.
I’ve been following this schedule for some time now, and have come across a lot fine myths about fine-dining.
People’s natural reaction towards lone-diners is that they are lonely and depressed. Some people even go as far as giving lone-eaters some company, believing they’re doing us a favor.
But here’s the truth: eating alone is a cherished art.
When I started, I was a little self-conscious. I was uncomfortably aware of what I was eating, and sometimes the food felt really squishy in my mouth — a sensation that had nothing to do with the food.
As time went by though, I became more confident. Yes, people do raise eyebrows and concerned looks, but it doesn’t bother me anymore. Because I’m too involved in my meal.
Eating alone, I’ve noticed a few changes in myself and my eating habits.
- I now eat slower and more mindful than I used to. This is odd, because people usually say you eat faster when you’re alone. I look at my plate, take in the meal, and then taste it. And as I eat, I sometimes try to figure out the ingredients and the preparation of the gravies. Since I make my dinner, I like to try out new stuff.
- I eat my full. Another paradox. I’ve seen in a diet article, they recommended eating alone because the anxiousness makes you eat less. I successfully busted this myth. I indulge in my meals, and being alone only gives me more freedom to spend time on myself.
- No one to satisfy. With only myself at the table, I don’t have to engage in conversations and other social niceties. I can focus on what matters most, and be rid of the compulsive need to agree, or provide an opinion in discussions I hardly care.
- What table manners? You know that awkward moment when you’ve just finished a great meal, and all you want to do is lick the remains off your plate, but you’re worried what your fellow dinners might think? Well, I don’t have to worry about that at all! And it’s the best part of a meal; savouring the last.
There’s something much more important than these though. For the first time in my life, I was appreciating what I ate. This would never happen if I were surrounded by a bunch of over-excited people talking about the latest movie.
I learnt to appreciate the art of cooking and the science of blending flavors. South Indian cuisine thrives on a combination spices and, here I was, experiencing it all by myself.
Nothing can compare to the thrill of it. Anyone here who’s a lone-eater?