Social Circles

Is the art of dinner interaction lost? These days the whit, the humour and the meal side banter that elevates a meal seem to be lost on many social occasions.

We could likely and easily blame technology for the social change in lively dinner conversation. Is technology itself really to blame? Or have we allowed it to trump table talk like other aspects of our lives? Now, I’m not a hermit that is out to protest against technology. It has positively impacted countless aspect of our lives. It does seem though that whenever we are ‘checking in’, we are constantly checking out of the moment.

There is nothing greater than great debates over what is the best way to open a bottle of wine when the cork breaks off. Social interaction is not only a great way of learning and problem solving that brings guests into to conversation. The google search for  – ‘how to remove a wine cork that breaks’ does not have the same party luster as 4 grownups on a timeline trying to pry out a small cork before the wine gets warm. Trial and error tends to be more of an interesting adventure, especially if there are some opposing ideas on how to solve the problem.

Fondue 2

I will definitely reserve Google for those desperate times

when I am lost  and already late (which I must admit is many).

The best hosting nights are generally when everyone parks the phones and is ready mingle. We usually host a variety of personalities that can definitely hold their own in any social situation. Self serving guests who make the effort to participate and be present during the event are always welcome.

We recently had a fondue night and it was a quiet relaxing evening with flowing wine, hot cheese and great conversation. My husband, myself and our 3.5 year old daughter hosted one of our friends. Small guest list for fondue, but it was a perfectly delightful evening. We all had a blast and we took turns interacting with one another as various hosting tasks called our attention. With our house rule of ‘No Phones at the Table’ in place, the dining room was a detraction-free venue.

Fondue 1

Fondue is so perfect for social nights and I often wonder why we do not have it more often? It is generally a longer period of time for discussion while the broth bubbles, the wine glasses are filled and you rely on your table neighbour to check your submersed skewers.

There is the unspoken level of understanding and trust that no one will steal your cooked shrimp.

Whether it is cheese, broth, oil or the coveted chocolate – fondue is a great way to socially interact while dining. Nothing brings people together like primitively sophisticated eating. Raw ingredients + flamage. What else does one need to make a great meal? *except the addition of some wine.

Fondue is great as the main time investment is the preparation. The main components can be assemble prior to the arrival of guests and allow for any much needed time to prepare yourself for public consumption or even to put your feet up. During the evening hosts can relax as the main task is clearing empty bowls and topping up glasses.

It is generally a laid back evening dictated by the pace of the pots.

Cheese fondue

One of the things I personally love is the versatility. You can choose from endless combinations of base ingredients, adjust the mixture of the cheese, broth, oil or chocolate along with the dipping sauces. The possibilities are endless. Check out my chocolate fondue recipe post and suggested adaptations that can be tailored to your liking.

Grab a skewer, dive in and enjoy!



  • Bernice Hill says:

    All very good points! We try to ditch the phones during family dinner. I’m interested though, what do your guests think about ditching them for the whole evening?

    • It can be hard to manage guest’s cell phone check ins. We don’t specifically advise them there is a cell phone ban for the evening. We do however seem to find these tricks very helpful in reducing the technology time.
      1. Our 3 year old usually on her own announces a ‘no cell phones at the table’ if one is suddenly presented. Hard to argue with a 3 year old. Just try.
      If you don’t have your own 3 yr old to do the dirty work…
      2. A a host, set the example. Limit any cell phone usage to 0 or excuse yourself briefly if responding an urgent message.
      3. Keep the conversation and activities engaging. Include your guests in some dinner prep or drink refilling. Bring up interesting facts about a guest that others can relate or ask follow up questions to. This will keep guests entertaining themselves.
      If the glowing screen does make an appearance, don’t freak out. Most people use that as a social crutch (like a drink in the hand) or simply habit. Try to make everyone comfortable and the phone in hand will naturally disappear.
      Hope this helps!

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