I may not follow many social norms, like showering regularly, wearing shoes or politely chuckling as opposed to cackling loudly. However, I like eating together as a family.
There’s research (Time Healthland, Eatingtogether.ca, Science Daily) finding the health benefits of eating together: decreased obesity, improved social skills, easy on the wallet. The Eating Together campaign site says, “Research has repeatedly shown that families who regularly share meals bond and connect more effectively, have fewer problems, and stay together.”
Food is awesome on it’s own. The way it feels in your mouth, how it goes down, tickles your tongue, the way it gets in your body and just makes you feel good. If this description of eating is making you think of another awesome activity, it should, eating rocks. Add good company and candid conversation and the whole experience becomes much more than a meal. Jonathan Safron Foer wrote in his book Eating Animals, “Sharing food generates good feeling and creates social bonds.”
My nonna was all about family. She showed her love through food. From the time spent cooking it, extra time spent because of vegetarian family members (guilty), and the amount she’d feed you just to keep you at the table. When my aunt delivered a eulogy at Nonna’s funeral it sounded like a menu. I love this.
It is hard to find time to sit and have a meal. My lil one and I are often adventuring, but I like to include her in the food packing experience. We talk about which foods we like, which are healthy, what favourites we share and where our tastes differ. It’s a simple yet intimate activity. It’s interesting to know she thinks yogurt or almonds are jut as much of a treat as Tim Bits or a Mad Cafe cupcake.
A dinner at a friend’s house nearing ten years ago left me inspired. They’d go around the table and discuss the good parts of their day and the bad parts. It was so cute and therapeutical to me. Patience and I do this before bed now. It’s nice to have dinner in your safety net and let it all go. Like in my old yoga classes (looks like I won’t be seeing those again for a while, unless affordable babysitting is included.) where they would say, don’t worry about tomorrow, and let the past stay in the past; start new. Why not start new with your day’s final meal? It all ends at the table.
My favourite local restaurant is a great example of yummy, healthy food in a communal setting, The Table. Don’t live in Oshawa and have your own favourite spot? Let me know 🙂
I got the title Table Fellowship from Foer’s afformentioned book. He used it when taking a look at Michael Pollan‘s use of the term.
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