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Your dining secret?
Share your experiences related to the lectures on this page, or to the "Food on the table" theme in general. Please post here.
Only the first 10 comments will be put on this page.
April 16 2004, Jessica, ...
My tip is to never forget triangles. You don't know what I'm talking about ? Well, it's very simple : the most important furniture should be in a perfect triangle ( ex : the fridge, the stove and the counter that you serve the meal on ). I promise it'll save a lot of time and frustration !
Oct 23 2003, Sarah, ...
My husband works very hard all day and comes back ravenous, and we want our little son to be fit and healthy so I am learning to cook better. It is hard work, especially as I also have a full-time job, but I know it will be worth it for all of us in the long run. We have banned our son from eating snacks and my husband and I have given up ready-meals.
Aug 23 2003, Marabelle, ...
The kitchen we have now is a very nice size, perfect for cooking, but we had an extra room built in for a dining room. It is very spacious, but near to the kitchen, so it;s easy to clean up after the kids! A bathroom was also built in, for guests to use.
Aug 14 2003, Wilma Recks, ...
Nothing can compare to a good family meal! We always eat together, it brings the social and the relations on top!
Aug 8 2003, John Gamming, Simmerville
I think the house that I livein now has a perfect solution even if we have no dining room, but a large kitchen. The perfect thng is that there are 2 doors into the kitchen, giving easier access to the bathroom, even if many guests are standing on the kitchen floor talking and eating, there is always a way out.

August lectures: Food on the table
Updated August 16, 2003 - intro by Mrs Johanna Grumblin

Food Expo theme for August is "Food on the table". This month all co-hosts will focus on the dining routine. Any home has a dining table, and I wouldn't be surprised if that is the most busy spot of your home. Check out this month's meals and lectures and more!

There are currently 6 lectures for this theme. You can still send me lectures from the Food Expo section.

There are also several nice dining items, mainly meals, to be presented with links on the official Food Expo section (August).

Stop your children from eating snack all day - new Aug 16th
Feeding guests - new Aug 13th
Fresh or stored
Cleaning the dining table
Serving a group meal

+ Several lectures posted at Food Expo co-host, Greymount
Where Does My Fork Go? Dining Etiquette for Sims, by Dorian Wallace
Dinner and a Movie: The Concept of Food & Dating, by Jack Daniels

Stop your children from eating snack all day
Lecture by Johanna Grumblin

It's a well known fact that sim children love to eat snacks, they actually 
love snacks so much that it might ruin their appetite. When you finally 
have prepared a meal they might no longer be hungry. And they often leave the snack bag on the kitchen floor.

When I get questions about how to avoid this, I give out two answers.

You can make sure the children are never very hungry, and they will be less interested in eating snacks from the refrigerator. One way to handle this, would be to allways have a bowl of fresh fruit or other healthy food 
available on a counter. In my food section at the STUFF (Simmerville web) you will find a bowl of red mini apples, and a plate with deliscious flamingo eggs. You can also bake buns or rolls etc. You will be surprised to see that most children pefer eating these kind of things instead of snacks.

Another way is to block their way to the refrigerator. You can either place a kitchen chair or a trash can etc. in front of the refrigerator, or - even easier - you can just flip the refrigerator whenever you are not in the kitchen to stop them. A refrigerator is heavy, and this will naturally be quite troublesome in the long run, but it works.

If your kitchen is very tiny a final sollution to the problem would be to lock the kitchen door. You can not place anything in the doorway, but depeding on the layout of the room, you might be able to place one or two furniture near the door, making it possible to block it by adding one more object (i.e. a floor plant or lamp) 1 floor tile from the door.

Feeding guests
Lecture by Penelope Burgess

When feeding guests, always be completely energized and prepared to clean up the entire meal. Also, if more than six people will be eating, it would be wise to cook as many meals as needed. Or, if you want, you could cook one meal for the guests and then cook one for yourself. OR you could serve a meal AND order pizza, so they have a wide variety.

FINALLY, when everyone has left the table and no one is coming back to clean up, it is wise to clean up any remaining dishes or pizza boxes. If anyone left trash on the ground, throw it away.

After the kitchen is clean, you could serve some drinks for everyone then go join a guest and have fun with them. Try not to be in the same room as everyone else when you go to bed. It gets embarressing.

Fresh or stored
Lecture by Isabelle Ashfield, founder of the Sim Parade Cooking Club, 

Hi, itís Isabelle Ashfield here. I myself cook a lot and am always encouraging more people to cook but I never mention the ingredients. Which is best? It is the fresh vegetables from the garden or market that you store in the pantry or is it the pre-packed ingredients and meals from your fridge?

I myself love to grow my own vegies and if I run out Iíll buy them from the market. My family loves to grow vegies in our garden and the kids love to play hide and seek behind the garden beds. Even though we bought a cat to help us keep the pests away the cost are rather low. It is also much more fun then purchasing all our meals.
I love to cook with fresh ingredients too. You really get to feel what youíre cooking. My husband also loves the exercise of gardening! Cooking with fresh ingredients is really the same as cooking with pre-packed accept that the meal tastes nicer and is very fresh!

Most modern families use pre packed as in the rust of today most families donít have the time to grow their own vegies or even chop them up! Pre-Packed means quick and easy! It also means more time for relaxing and watching TV.
Even though I prefer fresh Pre-Packed comes in handy when weíre having dinner guests, as I donít think Iíll grow my vegies quick enough to feed all our guests! It also is really good for those surprise visitors from work or when we need a late night snack and there is nothing left?

So which one do you prefer? Fresh or Pre-Packed?

Cleaning the dining table
Lecture by Johanna Grumblin, Simmerville

You probably never thought of it, but there are various ways to make sure the dining table is clean after a meal. If you were dining alone, you would of course bring your emptied plate to the sink or dish washer, but if you serve a group meal, there are details to be aware of.

Walking back and for to the sink sure can be tiresome, especially if you are already tired. In some homes it's routine that each household member bring their own plate to the sink. What a waste of energy!

When the first sim is done eating, do tell him or her to relax. Either sit by the table with the others or go do something else. The same goes for the remaining dining individuals, except from yourself or the household member that is the last one to complete the meal.

When the last sim is ready, he or she can collect all the empty plates and bring them to the sink in one operation! It doesn't take more energy to bring 5 plates than to bring just one. How clever, and how easy!

Another way to clean the table if you have neighbours visiting, especialy if it's an regular visit where your remaining plans for the visit do not depend on your guest's mood, is to let the guest clean the table while you do something else like visiting the bathroom or having a cup of espresso! This works fine when you invite a neat neighbour, but will of course not work if your guest is a slob.

Always make sure the dining table is clean before you go to bed. In the morning you might have time only for cooking and eating, and cleaning plates might result in that you won't have enough time to eat your breakfast.

Serving a group meal
Lecture by Johanna Grumblin, Simmerville

Serving a meal in the most effective way requires some planning. It depends on how large your household is or how many guests you like to serve, and even on the house size.

The goal for the art of serving a meal is to spend as little time as possible on walking. You walking from the stove to the serving surface. Each household member or guest walking to the serving surface to the dining table. It also is important to avoid chaos round the serving surface, which can easily be the result if there are many sims in a little room.

There are 3 kinds of surfaces which relates to this lecture - I exclude surfaces in other rooms than the kitchen and dining room, but if the kitchen or dining room surfaces are taken or missing, you will probably serve the meal on any other table in your house, normally the surface that is closest to the stove.

The number one choice is a counter surface. If there are no free counters you might choose a desk, and if there are no desks you might serve the group meal directly on the dining table. Worst case is when you decide to serve it on a table that is surrounded by chairs, because that means that each guest will need to sit down to grab a plate and then get up again, and it will take seriously long time for the whole party to get served.

My ideal solution is to make sure there are no free counter or desk surface in the kitchen, but in the dining room. Keep your guests out of your kitchenif possible! This requires a rather large dining room, but these days most households can afford that. If you can rebuild you might even like to take some from the kitchen size to add to the dining room, because the latter ought to be bigger.

If you have no room for an extra surface in your dining room, then make sure to have a free kitchen counter near the dining room, but not near enough to cause chaos in the doorway.

When the serving surface is in a different room than the dining table, it might be smart to have a double set of doors between those two rooms.

More lectures will most likely be added later this month. Please check back or keep an eye on the green Food Expo section for August.