First, let’s get our number straight, 13 that is. Discomfort with this two-digit “demon” dates back to the Babylonians.
Around 1772 BC, Babylonian society was ruled by a code of laws for human conduct and corresponding punishments depending on status and the gravity of offenses. It is said that the 13th law was omitted, but it was also determined that said laws, inscribed on stone tablets, were not actually numbered. Moot point then.
The number 13 comes up again and again in most cultures throughout history. In some instances it is associated with chaos merely based on the fact that 12 of “something” was established (often deities) and thus 13 would disrupt an established order.
Zoom forward in time (we want to get to the core of this article before next century now, don’t we?) to 1882, New York City. A dinner cabaret club was formed at this time, led by Captain William Fowler. It was called The Thirteen Club. Its goal was to debunk the belief about the number 13.
One belief states that it is bad luck to have 13 guests at a table. The first meeting took place on January 13, 1882. As you might guess, 13 participants sat at the table (after walking under a ladder when entering the room). Many Thirteen Clubs were formed all around the country following this first gathering. Former U.S. presidents Chester A. Arthur and Theodore Roosevelt are said to have belonged to such clubs.
While we do not know with certainty what topics might have animated the conversation at these dinners, wouldn’t it have been appropriate to discuss 13 ideas for the betterment of the country? We think so. Since most of us are not statesmen or presidents (and we hear enough about politics as it is), let’s consider 13 ideas on a more manageable scale. Our theme, of course, is food.
13 Food Inspired Ideas for 2013
- Grab a book (a real one) – If you are in the habit of going out to eat with someone else, go by yourself at least once a month, with your book. No headphones allowed. Strike a conversation with a stranger.
- Help a neighbor shovel, then invite them to coffee or breakfast.
- Eat the vegetables first.
- Join a group that meets at a local restaurant every month.
- Put more toppings on your pizza – choose veggies.
- Rotate your nights out. Try every single eating place in town.
- Take a picture of a dish you especially like at your favorite restaurant and post it on that establishment’s Facebook page with a note saying what you liked about it.
- Always have a salad with your meal. Eat it first.
- Make contact right where you are. The next time you eat out, before you order, take the time to ask your server how he or she is doing and whether they are having a good week (weekend).
- Try every single dish at your favorite eating spot.
- Set up an Eat Out Jar. Make it colorful and fun. Drop coins, dollars, any amount you want in it every time you get paid. Never count the contents and only dig in when you eat out.
- Enlist some friends to take part in a once-a-month Take-Out Night. Give it a theme. Turn off the electronic devices. Play charades. Bring out the board games… or just talk all night long. One rule: Keep it simple. Determine the cost for the entire group and agree to pay equal shares. It will even out over time.
- If you have kids, once a month they get to pick what’s for dinner. One rule: Dessert is allowed, but dinner must be real food. Any real food they want.
We have just created our own version of The Thirteen Club!
A note: Item number 6 – Rotate your nights out. The spell-checker wanted to substitute the word “knights“. 🙂