More about food

Whitishrabbit wrote to ask, “When did we become too busy for meal preparation to be important?” That’s actually a fairly important question. I wrote previously about food preparation, but now I’d like to spend a little time on consumption.

Food has traditionally played a very important part in many of our spiritual rituals. Consider Christian communion, Jewish Seder, and the Muslim breaking of the Ramadan fast–Eid–as examples. Sharing food with other humans (or animals for that matter) is an important part of our social organization.

After writing about preparing food, it occurred to me that most of my most memorable meals have little to do with the food that was prepared and served (although in fairness, there was a lot of it and it was generally made from “scratch” with loving care). But what makes most of these meals so memorable is the sharing, the breaking of the bread together, along with the liberal pouring of the wine, the laughter (a proven digestion aid), and the occasional sharing of deep thoughts at an otherwise light-hearted meal. These are the things of which bonds are made.

And in the final analysis (hah! with me there’s never any such thing), food is probably as much about relationships as it is about eating. I get great pleasure from preparing and serving the best that I have to offer to people that deserve only the best–my friends.

I think we are losing a bit of this in our rush to efficiency. Somehow, sharing a Big Mac on a hurried lunch hour is very different from lingering over a candlelit table for 3, 4, 5 hours.

I’m lucky to be in a position now to take time with both the preparation and the consumption of food. It’s only one of the benefits I’m finding to being unemployed.


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