10 ways to break the phone habit at dinner

Using your phone while dining in a restaurant is rude  – and annoying.
Using your phone while dining in a restaurant is rude – and annoying. Photo: Shutterstock

How do I get my boyfriend to stop using his phone when we go out to dinner? P. Liu

Here are 10 suggestions I received when I put your conundrum on my social media feed. They are in no particular order and some are more socially acceptable than others. Here they are.

  1. Be the example and refrain from using your phone and encourage him in conversation.
  2. Stab his phone with a fork.
  3. Text him saying, "Get off your phone or I will dump you."
  4. Start flirting with a handsome waiter.
  5. 5. Say in a loud voice, "So how does this Tinder thing work?" 
  6. Drop it in the soup.
  7. Make a rule that whomever has their phone out has to pay for dinner.
  8. Start dancing. Slowly to begin with. Then faster and crazier if he remains on the phone.
  9. Remove pieces of clothing.
  10. Get up and sit at an empty table. When he asks "why" say, "When you're on your phone it feels like I'm eating on my own."

Do any of our readers have other suggestions?

I had a peculiar reaction when I was peeling parsnips the other day. The skin on my hand and fingers became red and painful. E. Wiley

The parsnip was acting in self defence. True. Plants are amazing. They communicate with each other, communicate with fungi and have a barrage of defensive mechanisms to protect themselves from attack. It wouldn't surprise me in years to come to have researchers pronounce that plants are sentient. Parsnips and other members of the Apiaceae family produce phytochemicals when they sense they are under attack. Furanocoumarins is one such compound, and can be deadly to some fungi the plant deems unwelcome. When it comes in contact with the skin the furanocoumarins toxin destroys the top layer. A severe reaction may require medical treatment. If consumed, it can cause stomach aches. Furanocoumarins forms just under the skin of the parsnip where the vegetable has been damaged. The Food Safety Information Council suggests cutting out damaged parts of the parsnip and peeling the vegetable before cooking. The toxin levels drop when the parsnip is cooked. Discard parsnip cooking water.

When I cook my red cabbage it turns the most odd shade of blue. B. Cameron

Red cabbage is amazing. It is also incredibly good for you. There are 36 different anthocyanins in red cabbage. These are the same compounds that elevated blueberries to the dubious status of "superfood". Under acidic conditions they have a reddish blue hue but when the pH rises and conditions head towards alkali, the cabbage looks blue – green or cyan, hence anthocyanins. To change the cabbage from blue back to purple simply add some acid, perhaps some lemon juice or some good apple cider vinegar. Red cabbage is sensational with speck, chunks of apple, apple cider vinegar and black pepper.

Send your vexing culinary conundrums to brainfood@richardcornish.com.au or tweet or insta @foodcornish.