Why there’s never been a better time to eat in a restaurant //And, the case for pleasure in a sea of misery
Some people spend money on nice new cars, some people buy dresses and sexy lingerie and some people do other far more sensible things with their money. For me, there is nothing more fulfilling than spending money in a restaurant for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner.
I value experience above all else. Long lunch beats new shoes every single time. Dinner with a friend trumps cooking together at home without doubt. Breakfast and coffee without having to deal with dishes is the dream.
I am often genuinely confused when staff at restaurants tell me how easy it is to make something I’ve just eaten at their establishment. Oh it’s so easy, you would make it at home, you just… and I must stop them as quickly as possible before they launch into some instruction or god forbid recipe.
Similarly, while I admired the initiative of restaurants offering to deliver their wares to homes I had absolutely no interest.
Because the very best thing about being at a restaurant is that you are not at home. The very best thing about your meal at a restaurant is that you did not make it. Your glass of wine is just a little more magical because someone else poured it for you.
It is easy to dismiss the relevance of restaurants in times of crisis, not to mention in the face of the sweeping civil unrest that society is currently facing (and rightly so). Should we care about frivolous things like wine and degustation menus while the world burns down, while people are suffering, while pandemics rage, while we hurtle towards total and utter apocalyptic demise?
I say yes.
I say sit down next to me, I’ll pour you a glass of something crisp and acidic and tell you that frivolous things matter because that is where the joy lives.
Because food and wine is a world made entirely of people and stories and in those people and stories we find rather the very important stuff of life.
Restaurants are a testament to our humanity and they should remain a reliable comfort to soothe our uneasy hearts. Sharing food together is one of the most honest and simple remedies to the overwhelming weight of our times.
There has never been a better time to take yourself and/or a companion or two out to dinner. Leave your crises at the door, just for a moment or two, and enjoy some hospitality.
Your joy is not frivolous, dear reader, in fact it is paramount to progress.
One final note, while you are dining out, try not to be a dick about it: eat from the menu, order a meal for each person at the table, leave a tip and thank the people that serve you. If you are unsure about the kind of behaviour you exhibit in a restaurant, I’d like to direct you to this helpful article Table manners: The dos and don’ts of dining out in 2020.