Over the weekend, I was having a discussion with my brother Carl about our temperature preferences when serving food and drinks. We were reminiscing about the precise timing our parent’s used when serving our family meal each day. They were careful to be sure the food was served piping hot (such as a tray of lasagne) or very cold (such as beverages like milk or juice) just as we were sitting down to gather at our appointed time. To us, it was their extra attention to the details that helped create a sense that meals together were important.
My brother and I talked about the habits we’ve retained today around food temperature. For example, I don’t like to eat cereal unless it’s very cold. I actually put whole cereal boxes in the freezer to help it stay cold throughout the time it was being consumed. It doesn’t actually freeze the cereal — it just keeps the cereal crunchy and chilled until you’ve finished the last spoonful. Throughout my life I’ve not particularly enjoyed ordering delivery or take-out, such as pizza. This is not only because you have more control over the quality of ingredients when you prepare food yourself, but because I’ve learned through experience that delivered food can’t be served “hot out of the oven” as there’s a delay in transportation.
While I believe the most important aspect of sharing meals is the gathering and connecting with one another, another way to enhance the experience is to honor those details about food presentation which are important to you. You may find it enhances the experience for you and others. Remember, it’s your personal experience, so consider what you like and find a way to incorporate those details into your shared-meal plan.