Random Thoughts -- Drinking with Dinner?

One of the things that was an oddity about my upbringing, was that my parents always frowned on drinking with dinner.  Anything even water, any meals I just chose dinner.  We didn't drink with meals.  Sometimes tea or water or diluted juice afterwards, and later in life this seemed to have been relaxed.  But the notion as I understood it was that you weren't supposed to wash your food down.

Whenever I went to a friend's house for dinner I was always asked what I wanted to drink.  Usually water or milk was offered, but occasionally soda too (that last one I think because I was a guest).  I would usually just decline as I didn't really like drinking milk.  To me most of their foods were more moist than I was used to anyway -- everything from salads with creamy dressing to white bread to breaded and fried fish vs. broiled.   

In my binging days, I probably consumed the most milk of any time in my life.  Outside the little cartons in grammar school, I've probably only truly drank a half dozen glasses of milk in my lifetime.  But in the binge days, how does one inhale a box of cookies?  Well, dunking in milk of course.  When I had pizza or fast food out with friends, I was already at an age where for some reason I had diet soda.  But one has to wonder how much more easily/faster that burger goes down the hatch when "washed" there with sips of anything in between.   Binge eating was almost always accompanied by drinking something -- usually diet soda or coffee.  Milk wasn't drank, it was used to soak ;-)  

I wonder how much of the overeating in general these days might be due to our national infatuation with drinking something all the time, both between meals and with.


bentleyj74 said…
Lol, I had really similar experiences eating other peoples food. Nothing is "right" :-P

What stands out to me though is how weird I thought it was to be invited over to "eat". We never ever did that at my house. We invited people to go swimming or to the park or to the movies occasionally but never to eat.

Their households were so different from mine in every regard. People seemed to just wander around aimlessly waiting for dinner, I wondered if something they'd usually do was prevented by my presence or if they just always spent their afternoons that way.
BenSix said…
They've been showing Man vs. Food in Britain - which, like a bar of chocolate or plate of cheese, seems appealing for a few morsels but grows disgusting if consumed in significant quantities - and whenever the fellow who presents it is stuffed he douses whatever he's eating in sauce and continues as if his appetite has been renewed afresh.

This is wholly speculative but I'd guess that sauces are more widely used these days. Perhaps, for some people, the food that might grow dry, cold and bulky if left on its own seems harder to resist if smothered in ketchup, dressing and hot, cheese and innumerable other kinds of sauces.

M v F gives an odd view of your country, by the way: terrible inasmuch as it implies that everyone is overweight and gluttonous but positive inasmuch as they also seem really nice. I'm aware that Americans can also be thin and/or restrained. And unpleasant!
Unknown said…
I know one thing is certain, drinking fluids--particularly milk--get me in the mood to eat something and usually binge a bit too.
Growing up we always had something to drink with our meals, and I was aware that some people didn't do it this way. Seemed weird to me because I always had trouble eating fast without being able to wash it down. Key phrase there--eating fast! My eating habits are always a task which needs completion as soon as I can.
Lesley Scott said…
I have this awesome cookbook from 1942 - "The Good Housekeeping Cook Book" (I love reading old cookbooks; they're like a time capsule for me & interesting way to look back in time) & for serving meals, the editors advise a water glass if you're having company over, but the "beverage" is really relegated to the dessert course, or following dessert if you retire to the formal living room. They offer ways of preparing drinks with milk, but with a specific goal of drinking your advised "daily quota" (ie. for nutrition rather than eater-tainment) & some iced drinks that use fruit to get enough liquid "for health's sake". They do talk a lot about buying and preparing coffee, but it's always served in a China cup or in a thermos as an end to a boxed/packed lunch, ie. a thought-out part of the meal rather than than our current "obsession" as you point out with constantly downing liquid calories, be it supersized sodas or those over-the-top in-yo-face-flava coffee creations that, from what I've observed waiting in line (for my Sbux Skinny Mocha - yes, the dreaded skim milk & no whip cream), seem to be more a flimsy excuse for indulging in a lot of whipped cream.

This old cookbook covers EVERYTHING, and I do mean everything, to do with the purchase, storage, prep & serving of food in the context of one's entire way of life, even stressing that it's important to prepare your food with "joy" and "love", giving a fair bit of thought to meal planning & even how the food is presented - a more Japanese mindset in a way, stressing the colors, textures & of course flavors. It's totally charming & makes you realize how much we've given up with our 24/7, convenience-centric way of living today.
Unknown said…
*Chuckle* I'd be thin if I'd give up vodka & coffee. I've concluded it's impossible to be thin. Mostly because of the coffee.
Unknown said…
I recently asked my coworkers the question "Does green tea make you really hungry?" One other person said yes. The other, well he is always hungry so green tea didn't change anything.

I did notice that cold beverages make me hungrier. Warm chamomile tea doesn't seem to affect my appetite. But green tea and cold drinks do. I love carbonated water but it makes me hungry almost instantly.
MM said…
That's funny. I'm the opposite. I must have some kind of fluid with meals, and in general drink a lot during the day. I don't know why, but even the idea of having to eat dinner without at least a glass of water makes me feel parched just thinking about it. My husband is the opposite, and will in fact not drink enough to the point that it gives him a headache. I'll ask him if he had any water at all during the day, and guess what? Nope! Anyway, I don't think drinking with meals had anything to do with me gaining/losing weight, probably because it's something I've always done regardless of my size.
garymar said…
ZAK, yours is one of the great names on the Intertubez.

But my reaction to carbonated water is the opposite of yours. I drink it during the occasional 24 hour fast, to kill my hunger pangs, which are often simply thirst pangs. Does a really good job of it.

But then, I'm neither a zombie, nor a kitten, nor a believer that the ravings of John of Patmos were divinely inspired!
Galina L. said…
Your parents views on drinking during meals are close to what my acupuncturist thinks. He recommends to all his patients to follow a particular "water" regiment - nothing to drink 2 hours before any eating, during meal you could have a soup or a 1/2 cup of tea, nothing to drink after meal for one hour. He claims a lot of his patients lost weigh doing so. My guess they did it mostly by eliminating snacking. I also think most food or even water taboos limit the amount of food we consume.
CarbSane said…
Welcome Zombie! I concur with garymar, great handle there :D

Since I don't know you, I'm not sure how to interpret this comment. One way is that you're identifying two contributors of overweight but blame only one. That's how I see those who blame just the carbs or sugar in fast food ;)
Anonymous said…
I've always consumed liquids to keep me from eating too much, I've always been in the slender to underweight range too. I think it would be normal for me to just have a glass of milk for breakfast. Coffee and tea are very low calorie (naturally), but drinking them throughout the day provides you with something to do when everyone else seems to be snacking incessantly.
Woodey said…
I generally don't drink much of anything with my meals, a few sips of some type of beverage (usually water) and I'm good to go. When I was young my grandma used to tell us not to drink while we eat because it "diluted the stomach acids and interfered with digestion". I later read that was not the case and disregarded granny's advice.

A few years back I talked to someone who had gotten advice on not drinking at all during your meals and waiting 20-30 min after before consuming liquid. The purpose was to help in digestion and maximize the nutritional value of your food. She said she lost "30lbs" in a couple of months just from that alone. Well, being a tubby I thought I would give it a try and lost zero pounds just from doing that one thing. However, I did notice that I felt better and it changed some bad eating habits, mainly taking too big a bite and wolfing down my food.

Even though the notion of not drinking while you eat will some how make a person's tummy magically shrink, I still stick to that way of eating now and feel overall better.