Why You Should Eat Food with People
You walk into a room buzzing with anticipation as a busy chef moves masterfully around a small loft-style kitchen in full view of you and 20+ other guests who’ve arrived to a wine reception. The clink of glasses and warm greetings saturate the air. Appetizers circle the room in waves as inspiration swirls and sparks contagious. Two long dining tables divide the room, Pinterest-perfect, perfectly set and inviting, with dinner and salad plates stacked, place-cards summoning each guest to their place at the table. You take your seat and the dinner begins, each family-style course seemingly set to outdo the last in flavor and experience. It’s all new — the people, the plates, the atmosphere — but it feels welcoming and familiar. Every person is happily sharing, engaging and encouraging. Every flavor is new and exotic, but delightful in every way as each bite breeds community and connection. Every moment feels full of purpose and potential.
Have you ever had an experience like this?
An array of lives eclectic and autonomous, until brought together around a meal they find common ground.
Maybe you haven’t had the opportunity to experience something as specific as the scene described above, but what about a family reunion, or a holiday meal? Maybe even a business dinner? There is something almost magical about breaking bread with people that breaks down barriers otherwise impenetrable. Maybe I’m being optimistic, but I believe that you can put 10 strangers around a table of food and suddenly they all have something in common: eating and the enjoyment of it!
Humanity was designed to need to eat, and we thrive in community. The necessity of food brings us together into an environment where we can thrive! Not only that, but food is also (usually) satisfying and enjoyable! It’s really a beautiful design.
The dinner experience I described was my own. I was recently invited to the first #GoPlantMade pop-up dinner in LA hosted by Earth Balance and Gardein, and it was a privilege even more than it was a wonderful experience, but it was that too — wonderful.
As you probably know, I’m not vegan, and this dinner was entirely plant-made, so the carnivore in me had reservations, but only because I didn’t know what to expect. Jason Stefanko, a vegan chef, created the most delicious four-course meal with four different appetizers, entirely from plants, each one using an Earth Balance product. I think I may have had 3 servings of the Roasted Sweet Corn Risotto with the EB buttery spread…omg, it was amazing! I will definitely be exploring more plant-made cuisine.
I highly encourage you to explore new flavors in healthy eating. Life is not meant to be lived in a food-prison.
Each course was served family style, which encouraged conversation at the tables, and it just felt good. I don’t know how else to explain it other than to say I felt I shared a deep gratitude with most everyone there, which is what inspired this blog.
When is the last time you shared a meal with others around a table, staying present and grateful?
Y’all know I’m all about living fit, holistically; that complete fitness is about being healthy in every aspect of life. This includes being health and “fit” in relationship to others.
I believe that as humans, we were designed for relationship and community, and that even though it’s hard sometimes, community helps refine us and makes us better for it. It builds character, and inspires thoughts and ideas we wouldn’t have come up with if we stayed isolated, and reminds us to slow down and take time to enjoy living. The act of gathering to share food, itself, is food for the soul.
This isn’t to say solitude isn’t a good thing for reflection (and writing…ehem) at times, but that both are equally important when building a sustainably healthy lifestyle. It’s a balancing act. Some of us are better at community and lack the discipline of solitude (anyone avoid prayer and meditation lately?), and others, like myself, need to be more purposeful with time in community.
I highly encourage you to take the above question to heart. If it’s been a while, get some friends together and meet at a restaurant, or host a dinner party/potluck, and share a table and a meal, and make it a thing! This is something I am committing to do more frequently now too. Being at the event reminded me how much I love it when I do (even though I’m very much an introvert)!
It’s all about balance, which is why while I was at the dinner event, I thouroghly enjoyed Jackie Sobon’s “Peanut Butter Mousse with Aquafaba Whip and Popcorn Brittle” for dessert! ;)
YOUR TURN: Do you struggle more with making time for solitude or community?
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