Ah, mealtimes…a time to do business, a time for romance, a time to share news and a time to make plans.
Yeah right. Whether I’m at home, in the office or safely ensconced at a table for two it seems that mealtimes these days are less about the breaking of bread with friends and family and more about the breaking of wind and the tooth-tingling grate of china on cutlery.
In common with thousands of office workers in a recent poll, office eating etiquette (or rather the lack of it) sits high on my list of pet hates. Seriously, it’s bad enough working with some people but being subjected to their noisy noshings as they sit chomping their way through the reheated leftovers of last night’s stinking takeaway is a step too far.
Bad eating habits certainly aren’t limited to the office however. There’s my greedy ex-flatmate whose generosity in the food stakes didn’t match her size. Happy to take a sizeable share of all and any offerings proffered by her cohabitees, on the rare occasions she actually put her own hand in her pocket for food or drink she would loudly munch and crunch her way through the lot without so much as a thought for spreading the love. Dare to ask if she might spare you a crisp and you would be met with a deep sigh, a withering look and the reluctant, grubby-nailed donation of a miniscule Dorito corner.
As for husbands… well, I’m saying nothing about mine, but spare a thought for all those who share their lives with a partner whose idea of eating a decent meal is levering a five-high stack of chocolate hobnobs into their gob then trying to discuss the football scores while they eat it. Let’s just say any momentary panic you may have that they will choke in the process is far outweighed by the wish that they would.
Women, of course, have no such habits. I’m certain my husband has no problem with me telling him what to order, helping myself to the contents of his plate or shunning romantic conversation in favour of hunching over my smartphone to check the calorific content of every item on the menu. Or perhaps he’s just given up complaining…
As for kids – don’t even get me started. I can’t be the only mum whose boys were born with hoover attachments instead of mouths.
So on behalf of all those who spend their daily mealtimes surrounded by grunting, snorting, gurgling, dribbling and slurping, I hereby consign bad eating habits to Room 101 for eternity. Now go chew on that.