1. A favorite piece of music.
Most of the time we're playing music as a background to an activity like cleaning or driving the car. It's rare that we just sit and listen. And while eating and listening isn't entirely a singular activity, it still is a more focused experience. The food and the music will enhance and highlight the subtle (and maybe not so subtle!) pleasures inherent in both.
2. A vase of flowers.
People who tend towards the romantic know that a few garden roses stuck into a jam jar vase make excellent company. Flowers are beautiful, true, but they also (hopefully) smell really nice and the occasional waft of scent is almost like a conversation.
3. Pen and paper.
When eating alone, you are in the often rare situation of keeping company with your thoughts with no interruptions. It might be interesting to keep a pen and paper near by to jot down ideas or a few phrases or even a poem if you're so inclined. While this could be a To Do list, it also would be nice to make it not so much of a multitasking event but a time in which you can indulge your more creative impulses. Drawing and doodling are good as well.
4. Look out the window.
How often do we really do this? Much depends on your view, I suppose, but even if it's a nice one, we rarely spend time gazing out the window. Unless your view is a brick wall (and perhaps even then!) try spending your meal paying attention to what's happening just a few feet away from your cozy perch. You may be surprised to discover how much is going on.
5. Try something unfamiliar.
The human brain likes to figure out puzzles and be challenged. If you find you are getting bored when eating alone, try something unfamiliar like eating with chopsticks if you usually eat with a fork. Or switch dominate hands or change your knife and fork style. This can also extend to a new food, of course, or a different way to prep a favorite food. Or even to different vessels like sipping soup from a tea cup. In other words, play a little!
Do you dine alone on a regular basis? How do you spend the time eating? Do you have rituals or routines for dinner time?
(Image: Dana Velden)