‘table topics’ is Googled around 49,000 times per month globally. Apparently, Table Topics is a game?!?
One major difference between me and the other cadets at the Academy was our perception of the dining hall, our communal cafeteria where we were required to eat most of the time. Among most of the foreign exchange cadets, being required to eat was one of the biggest oxymorons of western society in comparison to our own. Our brains were wired to hope for the privilege of having something to eat. Once my tastes were adjusted to the pungent tastes of American cuisine, no one had to force me to eat the food that was available in abundance, at the surplus frequency of three times a day. Initially, as if it were possible to be any skinnier, I lost at the least twenty pounds. This was in part because I couldn’t force enough food down, in the time allotted, and under the stress typical of mealtime for the basics. We were required to sit on the very edge of our seats and chew our food for a particular number of times, speaking only when spoken to. Generally, the meal was rushed to the point of eating very little and remaining hungry until the next mealtime that would be as equally traumatic.
I would later realize that in general, outside the Academy grounds, American mealtime was more of a social gathering than a chance for physical nourishment. Food was a centerpiece around which everyone could gather and have something in common—the desire to taste something good. Sometimes, on certain social occasions where cadets would meet at a restaurant to hang out, at least one fourth of the meal conversation would easily consist of discussions about what to eat, who had eaten it before, why that particular restaurant had been chosen and where we should eat next time. At first, it seemed very strange to me that so much time would be spent getting to know the food, instead of the person with whom you were sharing the food. But as time passed, it was a comfort to know that if I couldn’t think of what to say to the person sitting next to me at lunch, I could just comment on the salty mashed potatoes and they’d probably follow it up with a commentary on the gravy.
- Dinner or Supper (todaysconvenience.wordpress.com)