For More Relaxed Meals Follow The Spanish Custom Of Sobremesa

Any trip abroad will yield a few culture shocks for anyone, no matter how much research you do. For example, many visitors in America find the tipping culture strange and unnecessary. Meanwhile, if you're a westerner in China, many find it hard to believe that it is polite to leave a little bit of food on your plate after a meal, according to Venngage. Many westerners grew up with the idea that it's rude not to finish your food when eating at someone's house, so the reverse is a hard habit to break.

As for Americans traveling to Spain, there is a lot that could come as a shock. For example, most Americans find themselves wrapping up their dinners around 7 p.m, but dinner won't commence for another couple of hours at this time in Spain. Similarly, most Americans are aware of the term "siesta," but they still find themselves uneasy when the bustling streets clear out at 2 p.m. Another lesser-known Spanish custom comes after mealtime, and it's something the world should take notice of. It's called sobremesa.

The art of sobremesa

Sobremesa, according to The Takeout, translates to "over the table." This refers to a laid-back time where family and friends can relax at the table long after the meal is done. The site explains that Spanish lunches are typically served as three-course meals. After indulging in this, many people are ready to relax at the table and enjoy sipping on digestifs.

This is a time for meaningful and connective conversation. It's not simply small talk to pass the time or just sitting around until someone needs to go. Rather, it's a valued time to connect with the people in your life. Cocina explains, "Once people have eaten delicious food and enjoyed a bottle of good wine (or two), they can talk about anything."

In America, it is very typical to rush lunch. Whether you're eating at your office desk or hastily eating on the go, there's little dedicated time to sit down in the middle of the day and enjoy your food. However, it may be time for a shift in priorities. As Cocina mentions, we live in a world full of superficial distractions and being overworked, leaving many feeling as if we're watching life go by. Adopting sobremesa into your life with your friends or family may make a difference; whether it's a couple of nights a week at dinner or at lunch on the weekend, this may just be the newest habit you should add to your life.