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How frequently do you use the dining room?


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I'm curious how frequently folks use the dining room. I have many friends and acquaintances who use it perhaps 10 times per year, only on special occasions. We use our dining room for nearly every meal. We figure, it's a nice room, why not use it? Sure, our table and carpet gets a little more worn, but we get such great use out of that room.

How about you?

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My 450 square foot apartment does not have a "dining room"--we have a small, round table right behind our couch, with the TV perhaps 10 feet away from the "dining area". My parents, however, only use the dining room for "big" dinners--Chinese New Year, Christmas, Easter, birthdays, etc. Personally, I prefer eating around the kitchen table there, as the dining room seats are hard and uncomfortable.

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Interesting question.Being the youngest of five boys and very,very old school,we always used our dining room every day at 5:00 for the daily congregation/education/curent events discussion and grubules.We always talked about how the current sports team was doing be it local high school ,pro or college or who,s kid whas up to no good(even if one of us had something to do with it)And i witnessed my Aunt,s home who had a showpiece dining room ,yet no one ever ate there and it struck me as very cold and a household that was a showpiece instead of a home.But then again Poppa was a rolling stone......

"Food is our common ground,a universal experience"

James Beard

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We used to use our formal dining room only for holidays, etc. but lately even though we have a very comfortable table in our kitchen/family room we find that we use it every chance we get. I bought the dining room set (Stickley) before I met my wife and she knows it is the one set of furniture that is not subject to her decorating whims. She keeps reminding me there is no sense in having a room you only use 2 or 3 times a year, although we usually reserve it for times when our 2 year old is not in the dining plan. We used it for her 1st birthday party and my mom cringed when our daughter dropped cake all over the rug we inherited from my grandmother. Since then we usually delay dinner until after her bedtime, but hey you can always clean the carpet.

Get your bitch ass back in the kitchen and make me some pie!!!

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For several decades now, dining rooms have been becoming much less a part of the modern lifestyle. You can see this most vividly in basic home architecture: modern homes have more open floor plans and tend to have kitchens opening onto mixed-use dining-living spaces, whereas in older homes the kitchen, dining room and living room tend to be three actual rooms with doorways separating them. I'm in favor of this trend. The old-style layout assumes mom will work in the kitchen and schlep a meal out to the family in the dining room. While I think it would be a great thing for more families to sit down to more meals together, these days the whole dynamic of communication, participation and sharing of burdens favors a kitchen that opens on to the dining-living space.

Where I live, in the New York metro area, housing tends to be pretty old. This presents some interesting situations among a number of my friends, who are just now at the age where they have made partner at their law firms, graduated from medical school and entered private practice, etc. They are buying these houses in the suburbs that date back to the 1960s or earlier, and in New York City they're buying pre-War (WWII, that is) apartments and turn-of-the-century (the 19th turning into the 20th, that is) townhouses. So they have these dining rooms and they never use them -- they do all their eating in the kitchen, even when they have a small number of guests over (and they never do serious entertaining because they work long hours and devote every other waking moment to kids). The denial mechanisms, however, are amazing. These people have 300 square feet of unused prime real estate in the middle of their home, yet they refuse to dismantle their dining rooms and create, for example, a play room for the kids or an audio-visual room for the family.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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While I am all for the new trend in open plan housing (I used to live in a loft above Espositos on 9th ave), the one thing I didn't like, and actually caused us to swap the dining room in our new house with the formal living room (another anachronism) in the front of the house, was the problem of sitting down for a more formal dinner and having the now extremely messy kitchen in full view while eating (my wife wants me to contact the Food Network to see if they will let me join the Iron Chef crew as the "Messy Chef")

I know I should clean as I go, but I must be missing that organizational/clean gene.

Get your bitch ass back in the kitchen and make me some pie!!!

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We only use the dining room if more than three of us are eating. If it's just the three of us, we sit at stools at the kitchen counter (peninsula). Our house is almost 115 years old, so our dining room is incredibly formal. We have huge round windows, a giant buffet and the walls are dark red. The table has eight chairs and we keep both leaves in so the room looks full enough. If it's just the three of us, it feels silly.

Our house has been for sale for almost a year. I can't wait for a more modern floor plan. At Thanksgiving, my sister-in-law and I do all the cooking, and we feel like the "help" at times. We are all the way in the back of the house, as far from the living room as you can get.

Danielle Altshuler Wiley

a.k.a. Foodmomiac

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I use mine every single day, for nearly every meal I eat at home (there's the very occasional supper munched in front of a movie, or snack eaten over the laptop). I've lived in a lot of apartments that had "eat in" kitchens -- barbaric practice!

I could tag-team with Taboni (though I'm getting better), and I just like sitting down, at a table, without the need to stare at the promise of dishes needing washed. I adore the dining room in my older house, with its lovely door between it and the kitchen -- which can be closed!

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Fortunate enough to have both a formal dining room and a breakfast table in the family room off of the kitchen. Weekend meals are almost always in the dining room, while during the week, we split about 50/50.

There's also a seasonal component. We eat more at the table in the family room (lots of windows) in the summer and more in the dining room in the winter.

Need to get around to getting a nice table set for the back deck soon.

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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I don't have a dining room in my apartment. The floorplan is very open with the kitchen opening up to a common area, seperated only by a relatively high breakfast bar. We decided we devote the entire common living area to being an entertainment center, so it has the TV, speakers, couches, etc set up, leaving no space for a dining room table, or a dining room for that matter. So, meals are eaten on the couch off of the coffee table, which works well enough.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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For formal dinner parties and buffet service for large parties only, so perhaps 10 times per year. It's very formal, and separated from the kitchen by the family room. It used to be in a very large room adjacent to the kitchen (which was very small, built for use by servants in the 1920s), but we remodeled, turning the old dining room into the family room, and a former library into the dining room. It's still large enough, but no longer the largest room in the house.

Our new expanded kitchen includes a large dining area that's surrounded by windows and a great view. We do all (family of four) sit down together and eat dinner most evenings.

Soon we'll be eating outside, either on the deck (before the mosquitos arrive) or in the screened porch (after the mosquitos arrive).

Can you pee in the ocean?

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These people have 300 square feet of unused prime real estate in the middle of their home, yet they refuse to dismantle their dining rooms and create, for example, a play room for the kids or an audio-visual room for the family.

Just noticed this. Yep, that's exactly what we did (see my post above). Before the remodel we used it for both family dining and TV/games. The original kitchen was too small, and the original breakfast room (children's dining, actually) was a laundry room at that time.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Interesting question.Being the youngest of five boys and very,very old school,we always used our dining room every day at 5:00 for  the daily congregation/education/curent events discussion and grubules.We always talked about how the current sports team was doing be it local high school ,pro or college or who,s kid whas up to no good(even if one of us had something to do with it)And i witnessed my Aunt,s home who had a showpiece dining room ,yet no one  ever ate there and it struck me as very cold and a household that was a showpiece instead of a home.But then again Poppa was a rolling stone......

funny. that's how things were when I was growing up, but because of my husbands schedule we have never had a set time to eat as a family. The kitchen island serves us well, the 'dining' room gets used 3 or 4 times a year. The table is great for folding clothes...

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When it's just the three of u, we tend to eat in the kitchen at the island. We always eat in the dining room when we have company which is at least every other weekend.

Occassionally the three of us will eat in the dining room. That's usually a Sunday roast dinner scenario though.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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These people have 300 square feet of unused prime real estate in the middle of their home, yet they refuse to dismantle their dining rooms and create, for example, a play room for the kids or an audio-visual room for the family.

Just noticed this. Yep, that's exactly what we did (see my post above). Before the remodel we used it for both family dining and TV/games. The original kitchen was too small, and the original breakfast room (children's dining, actually) was a laundry room at that time.

We actually went the other way. The original DR in our pre-WWII colonial didn't sit more than six comfortably, but we ate almost all meals there; we set up folding tables in the LR for really big groups. When we remodelled, we couldn't find a way to enlarge the DR that was acceptable, so we made the DR into a smallish TV room and rehabbed the circa-1970 family room addition into a DR large enough for entertaining. Of course, this entailed ripping out all the brown panelling, brown fake beams on the ceiling, dark brown built-in cabinets, brown-trimmed deteriorating windows and brown shag WTW carpeting. Then we spent an insane amount of $$ putting in floor, moldings, corner china cabinets with leaded glass, etc., to match those original to the house and much better replacement windows (with custom trim). We use it, happily, for every meal. We did add a modest "sun room" at the back of the kitchen that some future inhabitants of the house may think is the EIK, but we have a little seating area there and it just right for the cocktail hour, or anytime I am in the kitchen (where I do not want anyone else under my feet!). We are well-aware that we are bucking the trend, but this works perfectly for us. :biggrin:

Fern

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Rarely. Might have used it once since I moved into my current place with three friends. 'Use' is pretty loosely applied, too...I might have eaten there once or twice after cooking something, but it's not like we have sit-down dinners or anything. Have a pretty decent four person table too, that now needs to be resurfaced after the roommates played 'shot glass checkers' (You might have seen this at 'Bed, Bath, and Beyond') on it :angry:.

I usually just eat in my room.

Matt Robinson

Prep for dinner service, prep for life! A Blog

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We use our dining room every weekend. During the week everything revolves around the kitchen table and follows the rush of the day. On the weekends, though, we relax, take our time with cooking and eating and catching up on conversations that were started during the week. Also, every Saturday morning my husband and I have a 'State of the union' time where we get to talk to only one another. We do this at the dining room table and the kids know that that time is ours.

If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

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We use our dining room every day, twice a day usually.

We decided that it was important to get some time where we could talk without other distractions, no phone or tv in there. Plus it's purple and I love that room!

Spam in my pantry at home.

Think of expiration, better read the label now.

Spam breakfast, dinner or lunch.

Think about how it's been pre-cooked, wonder if I'll just eat it cold.

wierd al ~ spam

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My family is "split" ... my kids live with me every other weekend and one month during the summer. When the kids are with my wife & I, all meals are at the dining room table. I believe it's important to share at least one meal together a day. Ideas are exchange, vacations planned, jokes shared.

When the kids are at their mother's house, my wife & I almost always eat in front of the TV. Our meals during the week tend to be of the "informal" variety. The dining room table becomes the craft/sewing/newspaper table.

A.

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We eat at our eating bar for most meals. When we have guests, then it's the dining room table, but that's pretty much opened to the kitchen (and will be even more so once the renovation is done). When we have a large crowd, we rearrange the furniture, turn the dining room table around, and add an extension table. We can seat 24 that way.

Here's a view of our dining room table and the eating bar. The closet and other walls to the left of the eating bar will be gone in 11 days, further opening up the kitchen to the living room/dining room area.

gallery_137_434_271227.jpg

The new eating bar will have room for 7 or 8 folks, but I actually think we'll end up eating at the table more after the renovations are done.

As for Mrs. V and me, we usually eat on the sofa, watching the tube, with all the L'il Varmints comfortably tucked in for the night.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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We use our formal dining room for Friday night dinners (our Sabbath) and for all of the major holidays and when we have company. The rest of the time we eat in our big kitchen with the bay windows overlooking the backlawn and flower gardens.

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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We eat at the table with linens and a nice place setting every night that we are at home and cooking. The only exception is that we like to eat larb at the coffee table watching tv, not sure why??

We even use the dining room on weekends and will eat breakfast and lunch at the table. It's a very pretty room and it's big and comfortable for us. I love our dining room!

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We have a sizable "breakfast room" off of the kitchen where we eat most of our meals if it is just the three of us. We actually have a table for four in there, but if it is more than three dining we usually do that in the dining room. We can seat 8-10 at the table there. When we are having a dinner party or large family dinner we use the dining room, and even if it is just my parents or the in-laws (or heaven forbid both!) joining us we will eat in the dining room. For some large family get-togethers we usually seat people in both the breakfast area and the dining room, and we even have been known to set a table in the foyer which is right off the dining room. Since we alternate eating at parents houses on weekends and having them over to ours, I would say we use our dining room at least 3 times a month.

Bob R in OKC

Home Brewer, Beer & Food Lover!

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We have a "city kitchen" that may in fact be smaller than the dining room, and whose table is always covered with fruit, schollbooks, unopened junk mail and God-knows-what, so -- except for the occasional TV night, we generally eat at the table.

In the summer, we throw a tablecloth over an old folding table on the fron porch and eat outdoors almost every night. It's glorious.

The whole concept of an open floor plan disturbs me. I loathe the idea of my kitchen being in view during my dinner (or the dishwashing being audible afterwards, when the kids clean up), and I like a smaller, darker room (candles, please) that focuses attention on the food, the table and the people around it.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Very interesting thread as it shows a lot about the various walks of life, how we live and not only the size of our dwellings, but is very anthropological ... e.g. keeping a dining room even when it is never used.

At our place, our dining room is the only table eating space. We eat there about half to two thirds of dinners at home. The rest are on our super comfy couch by the TV or in the living room. There is another thread that is connected, which has to do with dining room chairs - we caved in and bought comfy dining room chairs about 4 years ago, and since then have eaten at the table MUCH more often. Everyone comments when they are at our place for dinner about the confortable chairs - this seems to be a good evolutionary route.

Sorry not savvy enough to add the link to the dining chair thread.

S the cat

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