Eating and Reading at the Same Time

20 Apr

When people ask me the two questions “You like eating out alone?” and “How do you get so much reading done?”, I don’t think they quite understand how the two questions answer each other.

Ever since I was a lonely boarding school kid, books have been my refuge. From romance novels to biographies to food memoirs, I can submerge myself somewhere else, blind and deaf to what surrounds me. I enjoy socializing (and am required to do a substantial amount of it for my job), but at the end of a long night of sweet smiles and small talk, all I want to is to wrap myself in one of my mother’s quilts and go travelling into another world.

But on a day-to-day basis, my prime reading time is on my lunch breaks. The hour strikes one and off I go with my trusty paperback or magazine in hand, to empty my brain of petty concerns about emails and spreadsheets.

After months of experimentation, I have found that certain meals are more suitable than others for reading and eating at the same time. Anything requiring two hands is out. Dirty burgers and books just don’t go together. On the other end of the spectrum, sushi doesn’t really work either – its simplicity demands more concentration than I want to give. Plus starchy, sticky fingers aren’t compatible with turning pages. Steak and meals of that kind are manageable if you channel your six-year-old self and cut your food into edible chunks before you start eating. Pasta and noodles are fine if eaten carefully, so as not to spit and spray sauce on your pages.

But I think the best kind of meal is something braised – stews, curries, that sort of thing. There is something very calming about eating a plate of cozy, long-cooked stew and sinking into your reading.

That said, the steak tartare at the Delaunay makes an excellent companion for any book…

P.S. If you want know what I am eating and reading at the same time, check me out on Instagram. I am @eatatthebar.


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