Did you know that the ‘proper’ way to stir your cup of tea is in a north-east to south-westerly direction, without touching the sides of the cup? According to today’s newspaper, this information is being provided to guests going to the upcoming royal nuptials. As the Royal Wedding nears, much focus is being placed on having appropriate social mannerisms and etiquette classes have gained in popularity.
While I appreciate and value many social graces and manners and feel genuine concern about the apparent decline in manners and general respect towards each other in society, I do question the relevance of certain social rules. For example, what would happen in society, if I dared to stir my cup of tea from the opposite direction, that is, from a south westerly to north-easterly direction, or if I dared to be even more outrageous and stir from a north-westerly to south-easterly direction? How about if I dared to touch the side of the cup with the spoon as I stir and make a bit of noise? Would people perceive me as being an uncultured sloth? Would I be the subject of scorn and outcast from society for not knowing the correct way to stir my cuppa?
While I find some of these social rules highly amusing, there does appear to be a general decline in many social graces that were instilled in me by my very British parents. I recall having many ‘lessons’ from my parents on topics such as how to hold my knife and fork correctly and various other table manners. One observation I have made is that many people don’t even sit at a table to eat their meals, so practicing table manners seems to be becoming a thing of the past or a rare event for many. The preference nowadays is to sit in front of the TV or computer, not talk to each other and mindlessly eat. I often ask couples with relationship difficulties whether they ever sit at the table to eat a meal and talk to each other and I am usually met with very blank stares or I have been told the table is used to ‘store things on’ and there is no room to have a meal at the table.
Food is a very powerful way to connect people with each other and sitting at a table embracing the food and embracing your relationship and the connection that you have with your loved ones, should surely be the preferred option rather than sitting in front of the TV, mindlessly eating (and gaining weight in the process) and not really connecting with your loved ones. Fond memories and an appreciation of food and your relationships are more likely to be achieved at the table rather than in front of the TV or computer. So I urge you, if you’re not doing so, to get back to the table…even for a cuppa stirred the correct way…. and mindfully connect with food and your loved ones and feel the benefits of doing so!