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Old 08-14-2010, 11:04 AM   #11
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The only time we haven't had a dining room was when we lived in apartments. However, unless we have more than four eating, we eat in the kitchen. The table is always set and the only time we have the tv on is while we eat is at breakfast. We have our dinner at 5 almost every day - sometimes later on Saturday but we do have a real dinner time each day even if it is just dh and me.
The term "formal dining room" has always puzzled me. We have a separate dining room and a separate living room, however, I don't consider either of these "formal" since we don't lead a "formal" lifestyle. Perhaps I should brush up on a few meanings.

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Old 08-14-2010, 11:04 AM   #12
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One of our goals here is to specifically move dinner out of the kitchen. We often eat at the kitchen island and have a lovely time, but there are dishes, the remnants of last minute food prep, etc. and somehow eating in the dining room is for us a 'centering' act. I have always noticed this but never really considered why before. It seems that the change of venue for the meal is an important part of this. And as you've pointed out eating on the patio would achieve the same thing.

When considering the term 'formal' in relationship to dining room, I assume a dedicated room for dining, not necessarily a formal decor. There are no crystal chandeliers at my house...

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Old 08-14-2010, 11:17 AM   #13
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I set the kitchen table for dinner after breakfast dishes are done :) Always have done this - if I'm having a dinner party I set the table the day before! For just the two of us I still have place mats & cloth napkins. Glass of wine before and during dinner. we take turns talking, and then sometimes I do all of it :)
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Old 08-14-2010, 12:25 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by licia View Post
...The term "formal dining room" has always puzzled me. We have a separate dining room and a separate living room,...

As Janet said a 'formal' dining room just means a separate room with only dining room type furniture in it - table and chairs, sideboard, serving table, etc. We don't have one of those. We have a dining area. That's a large room divided by an ell of the kitchen counter. The kitchen is on one side of the ell and the dining area is on the other side.
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Old 08-14-2010, 12:30 PM   #15
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Times have changed. Many household members, usually both spouses, work these days with varying schedules. We actually use our dining room only 3 times a year on average and this has been going on for several years. No wonder builders exclude dining rooms from their plans. I bet formal dining tables and China cabinets are not as popular as well...
Our dining room is the nicest looking room in the house as we try to keep it formal but what for?.....It is such a waste of space comparable to a small bedroom.
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Old 08-14-2010, 01:15 PM   #16
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I think the most important thing is a lack of distractions, including television, laptops and cell phones. Heck, even a meal eaten in a car could qualify, assuming the car isn't moving.
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Old 08-14-2010, 01:15 PM   #17
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We live in a large Victorian country house that has a grand dining-living room which we use for everyday scoffing, festivities, celebrations, entertaining clients and for parties, often rowdy (I live with five other girls), can be extended close to something resembling a runway. I could almost skateboard down it. This lovely old table is close to an old Victoria conservatory leading out into the garden. It’s wonderful eating good old home cooked food while appreciating the flowers, shrubs and fruit trees outside over a lawn that stretches as far as the eye can see. What I love the most is sitting by pots containing fragrant lavender, roses and beautiful kumquats getting ripe and ready for picking. Somehow, bringing plants into the house helps extend our love for the garden

Close by, is a hulking great wood burning stove, and during cold windy evenings and in wintertime, we can put a kettle on top to make a brew. Our home is very much a rambling old place with lots of Victorian character, but it’s family who make the occasion, so TV dinners on trays is way cool, only without having to sit perched up at table shouting “Would someone please pass the marmalade!” and giggling as it whizzes down at a speed of knots, gleefully pushed by someone sixteen feet up north.
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Old 08-14-2010, 03:20 PM   #18
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Interesting. Almost all of my life, I've eaten most, if not all, of my meals at a dining table of one sort or another. When I was a child, we didn't have a dining room so we all ate at the kitchen table - at the same hour - every day, except Sunday. The main/dinner/supper meal was usually about 4 p.m. on that day. Not sure why, but that's the way it always was.

When I left home and had my own family/home, we didn't always have a dining room, so the same routine continued, but we at at the taable. Although, when we did have a dining room, that's where we ate.

When my children were in their late teens and some out of the house, we established a once-a-month "Dinner Sunday" event, that included using all the best china, glassware, silverware, linens, etc. We did that for years and the children still talk about our fun Dinner Sundays. My oldest will be 40 this month, so it's been a while since we had any of those events.

By the time the nest was empty and it was just Buck and me, we still continued our table-style dining, even though we had a modest breakfast room in our last house.

Buck is gone and Glenn and I are a family now and we, too, always eat all our meals at the table, even if we're only having cheese and crackers or leftovers. And...the table is always set and each of us has a cloth napkin, which is something I've done for over 30 years. I was invited to a picnic a number of years ago and was asked to bring the paper napkins. I didn't have in the house, but the luxury of dining with cloth napkins is just one of those little pleasures I enjoy. I probably have a couple of hundred of them in all manner of colors/styles/patterns and keep them rolled up in a big wicker basket in the kitchen. I've even used a basketful of them as a centerpiece on the kitchen table.

Regardless of my stage in life, the TV was never part of eating, nor was telephone conversation (even before the introduction of cell phones). Our mealtimes were spent enjoying each other and discussing our day. The only outside stimulation...soft music of some sort in the background. I still have something soothing queued in the CD player before we sit down to eat.

Unfortunately, I think, dining together is dying out and has become somewhat of a lost event. It's fun, informative and one of the best times a family can have to "bond." By the way, we NEVER adhered to the "Children should be seen and not heard" at the dinner table. Where's the fun in that?!

My hat's off to you, Janet! Keep us posted on how you fare. It'll be fun and challenging, too. Enjoy!
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Old 08-14-2010, 07:09 PM   #19
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Sundays around here is like a circus. Children are encouraged to join in . Each one gets a turn to tell what school was about during the week or tell something important to them. We encourage laughter and hugs and kisses. You should see them trying new foods giving me their take on a recipe. What a joy they are. The older two are my taste testers and dig right in. Honest, you bet they are. Life around Ma's table the best.
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Old 08-14-2010, 07:25 PM   #20
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We always eat together as well. Sometimes during ball season that means a sandwich or bowl of soup before we run, but we make a point of all sitting together once a day. Usually the table gets set, (not necessarily fancy shmancy) and the meal gets served to the table. We all sit in, say grace and dig in. We talk about our days and share plans for later.

We've never had a dining room. Its just the way our house was built. Small kitchen and small dining area in the kitchen. Its just the way I like it. And although the tv is in the next room, its OFF during the dinner hour. We focus on each other. I'd miss that if we didn't do it that way.

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