Are we more European when it comes to food, but less when it comes to conversation?
Café culture is all around us; everywhere in the country, customers are grazing. We seem to have adopted a more European style approach to café culture lifestyle but the mobile phone appears to be a dominant feature – especially amongst the young who seem to live via digital conversation rather than enjoy good conversation across from them.
There is an argument that we have become more European from a lifestyle perspective but live a life as fast as the American approach. It used to be said that we were a distant cousin to the American lifestyle. Now we have adopted European relations too and it is arguably a more cosmopolitan and enjoyable balance. However have we got the balance right?
Technology plays a vital role in modern lives with email communication, website searches and video messaging, allowing us to speak to friends and families all across the world. However it is having an effect on our social habits. Cafes and restaurant should have a buzz of conversation when you enter them, friends catching up and others probably discussing the ever present election news. The buzz is now more likely the vibration of a text message on a mobile or a notification of an email. Is it vital for social skills that technology is left at the door – the distraction it causes is having an effect on our interaction with others.
The vision of Breaking Bread is for people to enjoy their food over stimulating conversation. The associated social behaviours of European café culture are slightly lost in the UK. Despite the deep impact of coffee shops on most city and town corners there is still a challenge when it comes to actual chat. If someone is checking their phone whilst dining with another person, it shows that mentally are more attune to a wider world than the simple joy of good conversation with good food. It is not surprise that mentally people are burning out and that the art of real networking has declined. Investing in a digital discussion will never match just talking to someone and building trust.
Is this important? Well many will say that burn out is increasing and that the young do not possess the same level of social skills as previous generations or the same sense of fun and community. Research will show us that we do not spend enough time reflecting or thinking or just relaxing.
As simple as the concept of Breaking Bread may be, its importance cannot be understated. Teaching children and the young the joy of social interaction along with good food is important as it is one of the most influential social skills that one can develop.
Breaking Bread – The Art of Enjoying Food with Good Conversation.
To get involved with the Breaking Bread campaign please contact Arlene McCaffrey