All human beings need air, water, shelter, and food. In food, we need different nutrients for the growth of our body. Eating is essential for most life forms, and experimenting with other spices, ingredients, and recipes is a common way to socialize. Most holidays or family gatherings include a meal that is served every year. Food is tied to tradition, food is linked to memories, and many people don’t realize the importance of food to bring people together.
Food is ingrained in our social landscape that it’s hard to imagine any gathering without it. From holidays to summer barbecue to meeting friends for lunch to family dinners, food is always involved, often serving as the main attraction. Even Holidays and critical family traditions can center around individual meals and foods. Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without turkey, just as Christmas wouldn’t be the same without ham for many families.
Socializing with food involved has more pros than cons, including:
- Instilling a sense of comfort
- Helping us get out of our comfort zone trying new things
- Encouraging a sense of belonging because of common food interests.
- Allowing us to be present and engaged while eating.
- Providing a binding experience.
- Improving emotional well-being.
Eating together essentially enables us to stay connected with the ones we love. Families and friends often use the time at the dinner table to talk about their days, weeks, life in general or current affairs, allowing bonding to take place over the food. There is also the fun of eating different foods and sharing different recipes, especially across cultures.
There is also evidence suggesting that eating together could be useful for you; studies have shown that families that eat together are healthier, benefiting from lower rates of depression and obesity and higher rates of literacy and self-esteem.
Food brings people from different cultures together too. It’s a fantastic way for people to learn about people from diverse backgrounds. Food is part of your family history and who you are, so get to know your close friends and relatives better by hosting a dinner party and having everyone bring a dish that is representative of their heritage.
You can embrace the social aspects of food by trying out some of these fun ideas:
- Eat as a family
- Host a dinner party
- Bring food in for the office
- Set a weekly dinner for everyone to attend
- Shares dishes around the table
- Take a cooking class.
Food does transcend all boundaries. It brings people together. It gives us something to share, it encourages conversation. And it reminds us even in diversity and variety; we have much in common. Sharing food has been a great way to sample different cultures and to mingle with people with a relaxed, curious and open mind without the constraints of being in a formal meeting or negotiation.
I remember having dinner parties and big bbq as a Young Adult, and those were some of the coolest experiences because we would get to taste and share dishes from all over the world. One guest would bring kimchee that their Korean grandmother taught them to make, and someone else would bring a Caribbean salad that they grew up eating and so on. Then I would have some braised and grilled meats at the Centre, and we would all share what was in our dishes and how and why we came to know and love them. This makes food so unique; it is at the center of all cultures and family gatherings. We have many of our most significant moments in life, either preparing or sharing a meal.
Thus, food is bringing people together because we discuss our views with other family members at the dinner table. Therefore they try to understand us and thus try to solve whatever is happening in our lives.