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Eating is a part of the human experience in every single sense of the word. We all get excited when we smell something delicious wafting from the kitchen. Everyone loves to sink their teeth into a favorite meal, chat with others, and maybe drink something refreshingly smooth.
One aspect of eating that we often take for granted is the company that we have when we do it. When we decide to sit and eat, we always sit around a dinner table to do so. In fact, we often do it even when we're solo. Did you ever wonder why?
The tradition started because people do need somewhere to eat, and people enjoy talking to one another while they eat.
In every single culture of the world, eating food is an activity that is considered to be potentially social. Among earlier tribes, eating as a community was a must - if only to protect both the food and people from predators. While everyone was together, they would inadvertently talk about what went on during those days.
The fact is that people are naturally communal by nature, and dinner is a good way to converse with one another and bond. Most of history involved eating dinner around a mat - and in many parts of the world, the dinner table still is a dinner mat.
Among more typical modern families, dinner time still remains around the table. And, it often takes place at the same time every single day - or at least once on a Sunday.
Studies suggest that we may actually sit down at the table to eat with family because we subconsciously pick up on the perks of doing so.
If your family has been skipping out on dinner together time, there may be some pretty bad consequences. Families who dine together five nights a week have been shown to be more stable, happy, and healthy than families that don't in a 15-year study done by Dr. Anne Fischel of Harvard Medical School.
The study showed that families that eat together have much lower rates of substance abuse and depression as a general trend. Among teenagers who eat with their parents, rates of pregnancy, mental illness, and disorderly behavior remain way lower than solo diners. Moreover, kids who eat with family also tend to have higher GPA's than kids who don't.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the study is that the habit of eating with family also showed that this single habit can help reduce eating disorder rates and obesity in participants.
Then, there's also the memories of eating dinner together.
Eating dinner is fun! And it gives us time to really unwind and talk with family in a way that most other activities don't. Is it really any surprise that so many fun memories have started by everyone sitting at a dinner table and enjoying one another's company?
If you ask me, the reason why we like to sit around a table for dinner is obvious. It's just human nature.