Almost overnight, Americans have had to rethink food and feeding ourselves.
Food is one of a few pleasures still available to us during the lockdown, and the great migration back to our kitchens is an epicurean opportunity.
It’s a chance to try new recipes and experiment with old ones, and for many of us, it’s the push we needed to learn to cook finally.
Whether we’re eating alone, or alone together virtually, or taking advantage of this time at home for family dinners, our mental health and physical well-being need to treat mealtime with reverence.
We’re not suggesting every meal needs to be a lavish feast. But during the next several weeks, there are ways to make certain meals feel more like special occasions:
- Ban devices. Unless you are using your screens to virtually gather to break bread, put away your devices, and turn off the TV. Pay attention to the food – to the smells, to each bite – and one another. If you aren’t used to dinner-party-style banter at home, Google “family dinner conversation starters” for ideas like these to get you started.
- Dress the table. You know the china, silver, tablecloth, placemats, and cloth napkins you save for special occasions? Ding, ding. It’s a special occasion. Swapping out the basics for a well-set table goes a long way in setting the tone for a special dinner – particularly if you’ve spent all afternoon cooking. Bonus points for fresh flowers, candles, or even place cards, which will give your kids something to make during the day.
- Express gratitude. Before you eat, take turns saying what you’re grateful for. A ritual customarily reserved for Thanksgiving, perhaps, but there’s never been a better time to be thankful for what we do have – friends, family, health, food on the table.
- Depend on Steakchop to help. Not only will we help cut back on your trips to the market (particularly advantageous right now), and cut down on your prep time, you’ll have the pleasure of experiencing fine-dining quality food at home. Cooks are only as good as their ingredients. You’ll be amazed at how delicious your meals are when you start with our high-quality proteins.
- Make an appetizer. Rather than serving everything at once, even a simple cheese board served first with an adult beverage for grownups, and a mocktail for the kids will make dinner feel like more of an experience. Have appetizers in the living room or den, and dinner in the dining room. Bonus points for homemade dessert!
- Have a special drink. Open the bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion or try your hand creating a new quarantine cocktail. Not sure what wine to pair with which protein? We have a guide for that here, and here.
- Eat outside. Yes, we’ve been asked to stay home, but we’re still being encouraged to go outdoors, and eating outside makes any meal feel special. With spring having sprung, the weather is perfect for dining al fresco whether on your porch, yard, or balcony. If you lack all three, pulling a table up next to an open window will do in a pinch.
- Turn on some music. Fine dining establishments rarely have the TV blasting in the background, so why should fine dining at home be any different? Turn off the TV and turn on some music to set the mood while you cook dinner and enjoy the spoils of your labor.
- Video conference with family and friends. Whether before, during, or after your meal, invite family and friends to join the party. Share a pre- or post-dinner cocktail or enjoy dessert together. Or bring your laptop outside after dinner and let the kids run around while the grownups catch up.
- Take pictures! You may not be having the celebration you planned, but there are still plenty of reasons to celebrate. Photograph it all, like you would during any other special occasion.