Convenient.  Why eating at the table is less and less popular with the French?

Convenient. Why eating at the table is less and less popular with the French?

In November 2010, during a meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya, Unesco experts examined a French request: the inclusion of the country’s gastronomy on the list of intangible world heritage.

The art of life

After deliberation, the experts consider that the French gourmet meal fulfills the conditions. It is then not so much a question of the quality of the food as of the meal as such, with its rituals, its codes, its presentation, its history.

The attachment to meals at the table and to commensality – the fact of eating and sharing a meal with other guests: families, friends, colleagues or even pets – remains however largely present among the French.

This very Mediterranean way of life, which we share with our Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and North African neighbours, is very different from our Nordic or even Anglo-Saxon neighbours.

A recent metamorphosis

Only 7 years ago, in 2010, a survey revealed that the traditional daily meal, at the table, was favored by 83% of French people, compared to 68% today. In less than a decade, cultural practices have changed profoundly: more and more French people find refuge on the coffee table in the living room, in front of their computer or directly in their bed, especially at dinner time. which nevertheless remains the meal with the strongest family dimension.

This transformation is above all the consequence of a fairly widely shared desire to escape the routine, as well as a desire to extract oneself from a regulated and standardized food rhythm.

The screen, a significant cause

The television associated with the family meal is not anecdotal. It plays an important role and is very revealing of what is happening at this particular moment.

The meal is the architect of family life, imposing in particular a conversation. But this conversation is difficult in many households, which must therefore use screens to hide the silence and revive speech. This explains its frequent use.

Lack of space

For others, often young people, if the cultural ritual of the table has vanished, it is simply because it is impossible to reproduce at home. These young working people or students, installed in their small apartment, simply do not have the space to fit a dining table into their accommodation.

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