Recently a girlfriend remarked on dinner in a restaurant with friends which she hadn’t particularly enjoyed. It was nothing to do with the food - it was the noise. When she described the nodding and smiling (whether appropriate or not - she couldn’t tell) which she had been reduced to because of an inability to hear most of what was being said, we all confessed to similar experiences.
Even a cursory search of the food section of “The Age” newspaper website is enough to confirm that the unpleasantly high level of noise in eating establishments is becoming a consideration for people of all ages - not just those who are old and hard of hearing. Excessive noise not only makes social interaction difficult but there are studies which conclude that salty food tastes less salty and sweet food tastes less sweet when noise levels are too high. In other words, high levels of noise detract significantly from the dining experience.
Does this signal the return of the dinner party? Perhaps not as we once knew it - cooking and cleaning all day in preparation and then washing the good China by hand (because of the gilt rims) once the guests have departed at midnight, is probably too much effort for too little reward.
However, at home we’ve been taking a more pragmatic approach these days.
We have guests bring a contribution to the meal and we use our extremely practical and robust Polish crockery. It isn’t as elegant as our Royal Albert ‘Old Country Roses’ which was a wedding present from my parents, but it is beautiful in a very cheerful and welcoming sort of a way.
We’ve created a lovely ambience conducive to easy conversation, eaten a delicious meal, enjoyed good company and taken most of the pain out of clearing up by loading the dishwasher a couple of times over the course of the evening.
I have to admit that last December was the first time the Royal Albert ‘Old Country Roses’ dinner set did not even have its annual outing, being usurped by lovely and far more utilitarian Boleslawiec pieces. I can’t see myself abandoning the Polishware any time soon.
The Cup and Mug
The adventures of a small business (more interesting than we would have ever guessed!)