A little television as a side dish.Javirroyo

I believed that every dinner in this life began with the same question: « What do I have for dinner today? » But during the confinement I realized that no. Domestic dinners are being prepared under this other: « What should I wear for dinner? » To eat, it is most likely that we have a closed circuit of menus that are happening without us having to think. The tiring thing is deciding day after day, platform by platform, what we want to see while we put the fork in our mouth. And how well we speak it with our recent and homemade Spanish. What should I wear for dinner? Because the program, series or movie we choose is something to put at dinner. Television is the garnish for those of us who dine alone.

Food and television are two foods that feed off each other. Are there not programs, networks, even certain television faces that make you hungry? Sometimes hungry for an urgent taste. For example, the face of a certain newscaster makes me really want to eat lasagna. The weather and the voices of some late nights on the weekend prompt me to order Thai food. With The Simpsons I always feel like eating paella. Series about serial killers go with cheese spread on potato chips. The videos of interviews with celebrities from the last century that I see on YouTube ask me for airport croissants with ham, a slice of cheese and strips of lettuce. With any program of La 2 I want a Castilian soup.

I don’t know which hunger started first, if the hunger in the stomach when watching TV on or the hunger on TV when eating something nondescript for dinner, but it is clear that they are two forces that play together to weaken our will to do just one thing and enjoy her. Eating while looking at a screen is a sin against the present moment. I learned it in a mindfulness course. The first lesson consisted of eating a raisin for five minutes with your eyes closed. And nothing more. At home I did the exercise with a whole salad. It was the first time that there was no laptop on the other side of the salad. The explosion of the cherry tomato sounded in the room. The salad tasted so much like everything that it scared me. It made me a very long and complex salad.

There is a halo of misfortune in having to look at something to eat, but television is welcome against the sound of the fork on the plate in the middle of the silence, against a Wednesday meal before a meeting, against a table full of parents , brothers-in-law, talking cousins, against a diet menu that is not intended for anyone to savor. Eating while watching television was invented before we arrived and it will perpetuate us. Perhaps in the remote future there will still be someone who wonders what to see for dinner before realizing that they have not had dinner for years.

Alberto Otto is the author of A chalet on Gran Vía (Newfoundland)