Saturday, November 20, 2021

Etiquette of a Very “Chic Lunch”

This post comes from Jennifer L. Scott’s wonderful book, “At Home with Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life” – When she arrived at Madame Chic’s Parisian apartment as a foreign exchange student, Jennifer Scott was a casual California girl who thought sweatpants were appropriate street attire. Madame Chic took Jennifer under her wing and tutored her in the secrets of how the French elevate the little things in life to the art of living. Years later, Jennifer was back in California with a husband, two young daughters, a dog, and her first home. Every day she confronted mundane duties like folding laundry and unloading the dishwasher, and she began to think about Madame Chic’s home—how the breakfast table was set beautifully the night before, the music that always played in the background, the calm of Madame and Monsieur Chic’s ritual cocktail hour together. Jennifer wanted that life. She decided to see what would happen if she didn’t perform her chores impatiently or mindlessly, if, instead, she could live like Madame Chic

Want a real mini vacation? Even if you only have five minutes to yourself, sit down at a clear table with good posture, silverware, a plate, and a cloth napkin and slowly enjoy your lunch. We are so rushed and wired the entire day – constantly checking our iPhones, reading the news, texting our friends, checking our Facebook status, and multitasking in our heads, that it is divine bliss to tune all of that out, even for a few minutes, and focus on replenishing our energy, nourishing our bodies, and feeding our souls. You could listen to music while you do this, if you want, but sometimes silence is the most coveted thing.

If you cannot sit at a clear table and must take lunch at your desk, turn your iPhone facedown, put your computer on sleep mode, and clear a small space for yourself. Just focus on eating your food. Eat slowly. Notice how you feel. Check in with yourself. If any problems from the day threaten to rush into your head, just send them right out. There are no problems right now. You are eating lunch. If your phone buzzes, just ignore it. If you have an impulse to go online, notice the impulse and its intensity. Don't give in. Finish your lunch completely. Take a sip of your beverage. Use your napkin. Sit for a few seconds and center yourself. Give yourself that moment.
Then you can go back into the fray. Check to see who texted you. Check the latest celebrity scandal online. Send that email that's been gnawing at the back of your mind. You are back into it, but at least for those blissful few moments, you were completely out of it, in your own magical world. The world of now.

Initially this might feel uncomfortable. But I implore you, of all the concepts in this book, take this one very seriously. Have your lunch with no distractions. No TV, no cell phone, no computer. The only exception is music. Even if you haven't had a chance to check your email all day. Even if there's an article online that you've been dying to read. Don't do it while eating lunch. Try not to think about any problems. Having lunch this way will charge your battery. It will awaken you. Otherwise you will continue to dwell in the rat race of the mind. Eating lunch this way is positively decadent and very chic. – From At Home with Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life,” by Jennifer L. Scott, 2014

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

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