U Pa Mok Kha is a monk from Myanmar who cannot eat after 12 noon. Local people bring him food and after he is done, he shares the rest of the food with them. Age: 55 Time: 11:17 AM Location: Jackson Heights, Queens
Last week a New York-based photographer, Miho Aikawa, emailed me with a project that she wanted to share with our readers at The Kitchn: a photographic series exploring the way real people eat, and what their mealtime environments look like.
As I paged through the photographs of her project, titled Dinner in NY, I found myself face to face with young professionals, eating on their beds and watching television; a mother feeding her baby while Skyping with grandparents; an extended family at a raucous and lively table; a monk from Myanmar about to share food with his neighborhood. I found the series both touching and insightful and it evoked in me the exact question that Aikawa is asking: "What is a quality dinner?"
Carlos Ledesma, from Argentina usually enjoys Sunday night with his friends watching TV show on HBO at home. Age: 31, Time: 8:06 PM Location: Astoria, Queens
As she says, having dinner is not just about eating food — our mealtime environments reveal many aspects of our lives.
So we are sharing some of these photographs with you today, a look into a few microcosms of New York life and real people's mealtimes. What common themes do you notice? What strikes you?
Here's a little about from Aikawa's motivations and questions in this project. She says:
A study in Public Health Nutrition which compiles data relating to Americans' food-related time use over the past 30 years reveals some interesting trends: Eating as a primary activity declined in the past 30 years. On the other hand, eating as a secondary activity rose dramatically in the past 30 years. When we combine the primary and secondary eating time, we see that in total we're spending an average of 25 minutes or more minutes eating daily than we did 30 years ago. We now do almost 50 percent of our eating while concentrating on something else.
I would like to propose thinking what a dinner should be by objectively seeing diverse dinner situations. When you enjoy mealtimes, you're more likely to eat better. Let's think what we can do to enhance the pleasure of the table.
You can see the whole series — nearly 30 photos — at Miho Aikawa's website.
See the full project: Dinner in NY from Miho Aikawa
Related: The Kitchens Where We First Learned to Love Food
(Images: Miho Aikawa)