This paper assumes that the physical and social aspects of the space where meals are consumed impact upon the experience of those eating. Empirical material from a hospital in Sweden, combined with material from nurseries in Norway, was used to analyse two different room settings and their impact on the meal situation. The meals for the staff at the hospital, as well as for the children in the nurseries, were limited in time, as well as in place and with whom to co-eat. The meals were located in rooms with a multitude of functions. Playing, learning, reading, planning and working are other activities competing with time, place and attention in the same room. The ideal meal is often described as a meal in peace and quiet. In the two empirical situations used here, the risk of chaos is always present. In the nurseries, the children may easily switch focus from the meal to the other things in the room. The crowded feeling at the hospital dining rooms is described as an obstacle to the often-stated importance in a busy working environment: a calm meal during the break. This article focused on some aspects of how eating in a multifunctional room influences the way individuals sense and perceive the meal.
- Samhällsvetenskap (5)