(I don't believe human beings were designed to listen to the world's bad news while eating a meal - indigestion guaranteed if you do! A bit crazy when you really think about it.)
John Naish in 'Enough' suggests you only eat in small restaurants because you are more likely to be served by people who really care about the food they make and states 'in clangingly loud trendy restaurants decibel-battered diners respond by eating faster (thus eating more) and drinking more alcohol. Restaurateurs love this because it speeds their tables' turnaround time.'
In winter and especially at Christmas I love to do 'over the top' candles and flowers - if you are lingering long over a meal and conversation there should be more to look at.
Two food books i am very tempted to add to my collection are 'Snowflakes and Schnapps' and 'Long Nights and Log Fires' - if the recipes are as good as the titles and the images. Have started to use Amazon's wish list - great idea, and with a birthday coming up....
If you could only keep one of your cookbooks which would it be? Do tell!