Something To Think About
Over the last few years there has been a lot of conversation about the use of mobile phones at the dining table – especially in restaurants. Needless to say, no one wants to listen to a stranger’s mobile phone conversation when dining with friends. There is also the idea that mobile phone use while dining can take away from one’s appreciation of what is being served.
A recent article in Stockpot, the Craft Guild of Chef’s magazine, addressed this issue with an article on an experiment by Karen Fewell, Founder of Digital Blonde and the Food Marketing School.
Ms. Fewell gathered 25 strangers of various ages and backgrounds together for a four-course dinner. She chose an unusual setting of a disused tube car. As soon as the guests arrived they started taking photos of their surroundings and sharing their thoughts on the dinner’s location. The first course arrived and again, out came the mobile phones. Everyone wanted to photograph what they were about to eat but few wanted to converse about it.
At this point, things got interesting. Guests were asked to give up their phones for the rest of the evening. To quote from the article “A team of researchers documented how the dynamic and interaction changed when mobile phones were no longer part of the dining experience”.
It is interesting to note that “the researchers observed various reactions from the diners from noticeable anxiety to actual anger” at having to give up their mobile phones.
So what was the impact of this dining experience?
At the end of the meal, guests were asked to complete a survey on their reaction to being without their mobile phone. “Guests found that without their phones, they talked more about the food and the flavours. They also were more aware of the smell and aroma of the food.” Above all, 100% of the guests agreed that “the conversation flowed better without the presence of the phones.” The majority felt that they connected to and enjoyed more of the conversation than when mobile phones are present.
Indeed, that does give one something to think about.
On another subject entirely, with this issue of The DatebooK we say “good bye” to our “Tales of the Vine” writer Francis Gimblett. Francis has been with us for 20 years and I hope you have enjoyed his various stories about his wine adventures, and more recently his forray into cheese making, as I have. We wish him all the best as he continues to explore new and different areas of the world for wine.
Mary Kay Eyerman
Quotes in Something to Think About are from an article in the November/December issue of Stockpot.