Despite the advice of self-help books and mindfulness coaches, when we have a meal completely to ourselves, we rarely enjoy the singular task of just eating with all our attention on the food. Most of us have at least one other companion at the table with us and usually that companion is an inanimate but distracting object in the form of TV or the newspaper.
For human beings, eating is usually a very social activity, and while solo eating is on the rise in the West, it is still unusual. Most of the time we take our meals with loved ones or friends and colleagues. So when we find ourselves alone at mealtime, it's not unusual to try and fill in the silence. Sometimes it's the chatter of a TV, or the words in a book or newspaper. Or maybe we multi-task by eating our lunch at our desks with our email up and running. Eating alone in public is almost always in the company of a book or newspaper or taken at the bar where the TV and other singular diners provide company and distraction.
If you are interested in try to eat with less distraction, you may want to take a look at this article that ran yesterday in the New York times: Mindful Eating as Food for Thought.
When was the last time you sat at the table and just ate your meal in total silence. Just you and the taste of the food? Did you enjoy it or were you bored?