Food reveals our past, our identity, and experiences. Food connects us to our heritage and to the larger world around us.
While eating began as a source of survival for human beings, people have largely evolved from trying to stay alive. As recipes with secret ingredients get passed down from generation to generation and the satisfaction of eating a good meal connects people across the globe, food receives various labels.
Food is love. Food connects. Food is history. Food is memories. Food is community. Food is culture.
Since the beginning of time, humans have shared meals with each other. The act of sitting next to another person and eating creates an immense bond, usually overlooked. Gathering around a table has provided a sense of connection for centuries and can even be seen all over the Bible.
Enjoying a meal with another person allows you to be vulnerable in a way that only comes when accompanied by food. As you eat, you trust the chef to make a delicious meal. When you cook, you are subject to the criticism of the people you feed. Not only does eating require a sense of trust, but once you share a meal with another person you immediately have a joint experience, a cohesive memory that only you and that person are able to be a part of.
Technology and the fast-paced environment of the world we live in are attacking the connection that comes with food. People are eating meals alone more now than ever before. The constant work culture of America creates the perfect murderer of family meals – physical isolation.
At first glance, different foods of different cultures could isolate people groups even more but instead the variety of cultures that accompany food connect human beings more than anything. The food we grew up eating defines who we are but not who we will be. Whether you grew up in Japan eating ramen or being raised in Italy eating homemade ravioli, food connects you.
Food doesn’t have prejudice against race, religion, gender, or ethnicity. Everyone eats. A family in Orange County could be sitting down at the dinner table as a family in Jakarta, Indonesia is making breakfast. A boy from South Africa could have the same favorite food as an old woman in Russia.
Without many people realizing it, food has the power to connect everyone, everywhere. We honor events and artifacts from the past because they tell us where we come from. But in some ways, the culture of food evokes memories and stories better than anything.
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