Tonight Kyle and I had a lovely meal. The food itself was nothing extraordinary- as I mentioned before, we're sort of in leftover/pantry mode, so dinner was just some leftover french onion soup with toasted 3-day old bread from the bakery I work at, some chicken from the freezer that I rubbed with herbs and garlic, and canned green beans with balsamic vinegar. (We don't eat many canned veggies, but the beans were leftover from a potluck dinner at Kyle's dad's work... long story...) The food was simple, and I tried to make it pretty and appealing. We had it with a glass of wine from the other night.
What made dinner tonight so nice was the atmosphere. I cleaned the papers and old mail off the dining room table, lit a candle and laid down placemats. We put on the "love song" music station on the TV for some ambient music, and ate dinner slowly, enjoying each other's company. I'll admit- for a long time, we didn't have a dining room table, so our only option was eating dinner at the coffee table, and the habit had carried on, even though we now have a very nice dining set. We also are guilty of the habit of catching up on our DVR'd episodes of Hell's Kitchen and Lost while eating dinner.
Tonight, feeling inspired both by Jenn's philosophy of wine with dinner as a way to slow down and enjoying your meal, and by the book French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano (which, actually, Jenn let me borrow...) I decided that tonight we were going to stop our other activities and enjoy our meal as an event, rather than something to do while we watch reruns of The Office. It makes sense, really. Think of how much fun dinner with friends is, even if the food is mediocre. Part of what makes dining fun and relaxing is the company. (And, delicious food is that much better with good company.) On top of that, Kyle and I rarely eat dinner together, as I go to school at night during the week. This gave us a chance to re-connect and focus on each other (and our food).
If you don't already, I'd recommend turning off the TV, putting on a soothing CD and eating at the table, rather than on the sofa. Even if you eat alone, it gives you time to unwind and savor your meal. It's amazing how much better even simple foods are this way.