How to Eat Dinner in Bed Like an Absolute Champion

This is a judgement-free zone.

December  5, 2018

It may sound kind of silly, but one of my dreams in life is to have a huge dining table made of beautiful reclaimed wood. You know, one of those farmhouse-style tables you'd see in a dreamy French château, the Italian villa in Under the Tuscan Sun, or a multi-million dollar TriBeCa loft. Unfortunately—yet totally unsurprisingly—that is not my current reality.

I live in New York City, yes, but in a multi-hundred dollar apartment on the Upper East Side that barely has room for two small glass coffee tables (which I actually think were designed to be end tables?), let alone a real-life dining table. So where's a girl to enjoy a homemade meal? Not the couch, like you were probably thinking; it's really not that comfortable and I hate hunching over the "coffee table" to eat. Instead, I choose—proudly, I might add—to enjoy 99% of my dinners in the coziest, cushiest spot in the 350 square feet I call home: my bed.

Sure, my mother was horrified to learn this (and maybe you are, too), but I've come to find it's actually one of life's simplest and most convenient pleasures. I mean what could be better than curling up in bed with a hot bowl of pasta and some reality television? If you're me, literally nothing. But to successfully eat dinner in bed (without making a mess), you need the right equipment. Here are the three essentials you'll need to accomplish this like an absolute pro:

Trusty Trays

If you're going to seriously commit to becoming an eat-dinner-in-bed person, you're going to need a proper tray—it's the simplest way to avoid spills and keep everything you need in one handy spot.

But first, you have to ask yourself: What type of tray am I? If you like to comfortably recline against your pillow and carefully spoon-feed yourself bites, you'll want a folding tray you can prop up, like these sturdy bamboo and Acacia wood options. If, like me, you'd prefer to sit criss-cross applesauce over the covers (less chance for mess!) and catch up on the latest episode of House Hunters International, opt for a wide, flat try you can easily move around the bed; these metal-handled tray or teal melamine options would both work perfectly.

LapGear Natural Bamboo Folding Tray Photo by Amazon
Acacia Wood Bed Tray Photo by Bed, Bath & Beyond
RooLee Wood Serving Tray Photo by Amazon
Teal Rectangular Serving Tray Photo by Bed, Bath & Beyond

Bowls Are Your Bestie

When it comes to dining near white sheets and a linen duvet cover, plates simply aren't an option. You've simply got to have a rim to protect things from slipping and sliding off. Bowls are your best bet here; they can comfortably hold anything a plate can, plus soups and stews and salads even when they're not on a perfectly flat surface. I especially love these colorful melamine bowls from Odeme because they're super durable, yet festive enough to make eating in bed alone feel like a celebration (and not at all sad). Sometimes when I'm feeling lazy, I'll even just eat my leftovers straight out of the microwave in these Porter To-Go Bowls and save myself the hassle of cleaning an extra dish.

Recipes I Keep in Rotation

Are you shocked to see spaghetti with red sauce here? I like to live dangerously. (Also, it's outrageously delicious and worth any potential spill.) The key to most of these recipes, as you might have guessed after a glance, is that they not only fit nicely in a bowl, but they're also easy enough to make on a regular basis. After all, cooking most nights a week can be tough to begin with, so it's helpful to have a few recipes that aren't crazy difficult to pull together, or can be made in big batches and reheated in that perfect little bowl in the microwave. Oh, and don't forget dessert! I'm not a dessert-every-night type of person, but when I'm craving it, that chocolate mug cake really hits the spot when curled up under the covers.

What's your favorite thing to eat in bed? Tell us in the comments the below!

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Erin Alexander

Written by: Erin Alexander

Erin Alexander is the Managing Editor of Food52.

1 Comment

Eric K. December 9, 2018
I need all of those serving trays...for research purposes.