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3 Things That Separate Fine Dining from Mere Eating

Photo by Mister Mister from Pexels

Some people eat to live. Others live to eat. Neither group is participating in the art of fine dining. There is a huge difference between dining and eating. It is as distinct as the difference between physical training and frenetic motion. Other examples include the following differences:

  • Fashion and wearing clothes
  • Dance and flailing about
  • Music and noise
  • Oration and talking
  • Martial arts and brawling

I could go on this way for a long time. But I think you get the point. Unfortunately, many, if not most people have no clue what the difference is between fine dining and mere eating because they have never experienced fine dining where they have experienced music, dance, and other artistic markers of culture.

There was a time when dinnertime was an occasion to dress up in one’s Sunday best, and that was when eating dinner at home. Eating out was an even more formal occasion. As society changed, we developed an appetite for casual dining. Speed and convenience took over as the highest tenets of our food ethic. Today, dining has lost its status as a grand experience and has been reduced to gross food consumption. Is there a way back? If there is, it starts with these three principles:

Dining Must Prioritize Health

To many, soy products are delicious. They would tell you there is no such thing as too much soy. They prioritize taste preference over health without intending to do so. We even feed it to nursing babies. Soy-based formula is as common as applesauce. Unfortunately, soy formula is about as healthy as applesauce, containing far more sugar than you realize.

Fine dining is anything but fine if it glorifies ingredients that should be minimized for the deleterious effects it has on health. Far too many restaurateurs begin a food creation with the question, “Will customers like the taste of it?” The first priority should always be making food good for the body, then exciting the taste buds from there. When dining starts with the taste buds, it often never progresses to health.

Indeed, it is rather difficult to include health as an add-on once you have created a taste. However, it is much easier to make something taste great after you start with a foundation of good health. Fine dining is a gift to the physical body as well as to the emotional senses.

A Celebration of Quality Ingredients and Techniques

Even when you can’t get out to a restaurant, you can still experience fine dining at home. It is not about expensive surroundings. While ambiance is a nice bonus, it is not the most important thing. Home chefs will tell you that the critical parts of a great meal are quality ingredients and the way they are handled.

We can drill down further and appreciate the differences between protein prep and plant-based cooking. Anyone can heat up a protein to the proper temperature. But it takes a chef to source, prep, and transform plants into a pleasurable presentation for the palate. At the finest food halls, steakhouses, or event centers like a casino in California you can find chefs trained only in European cuisine and fine dining. Learning some of those lessons from YouTube or a cookbook can help you master some skills, and all dining from your kitchen will be a little finer than before.

Ethical Eating

Fine dining is about ethical eating. The ethics of eating is about a lot more than curbing meat consumption. The question of whether a thing is tasty should be preceded by whether a thing is right. Many eaters never pause for conscientious contemplation. Those who do will often cease their contemplation too soon.

There are also issues of how food is grown and sourced. We often source our most valued spices from places where people don’t have enough to eat. Is it right to value our flavor over their nutrition? Dining has greater moral implications than other luxuries. It doesn’t matter how much you pay for a luxury watch. No one can make the case that everyone in the world needs a watch. But healthy, well-prepared food is a basic necessity for all humans. And all humans do not have access to it. That might be something worth considering the next time you drop $300 on the perfect vegan, fine dining experience.

Ethical considerations make everything more complicated. But without the ethical calculus, Nothing about the human experience would add up. Without ethics, fine dining would always be in poor taste. And that is not a taste any of us should be happy with.

Fine dining is as different from eating as true love is from infatuation. Elevate your dining experience by prioritizing health, quality, and ethics. Do that, and every meal becomes a fine dining experience.

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