The Power of Food

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

Food brings people together. Consider what we do when we’re dating someone or going to meet up with an old friend: we eat together. We go grab lunch as an excuse to chat. We go out with our spouse for dinner. It is something that cuts across cultures as well -- Americans are just as likely to eat with friends and family as the Chinese or Brazilians. Eating together is, if not the best, one of the best ways we can have a great conversation.

So what is it about food? It’s not the quality of the food. I’ve had equally great conversations over a $5 pizza as a 3 course meal served on a fancy, white tablecloth. Our neighborhood does a potluck each summer and some of the best conversations I have with my neighbors is when I’m standing up while eating off a paper plate in a garage.

I think one of the major things about it is that we all have it in common. We need to eat. Rich or poor. Young or old. And we typically need to be mostly sitting still in order to do it. Unless you’re running an ultramarathon, in which case you’re just trying to get some calories down without vomiting, but that is an exception to the rule. Eating slows us down and gives us a chance to look each other in the eye and hopefully listen. It is also a nice opportunity for everyone to speak. This is why there’s such a strong recommendation for families to eat together.

I have yet to find a relationship that does not benefit from sharing a meal together. Whether it is a bunch of coworkers, a church small group or a close knit family -- food helps. It doesn’t have to be a fancy night out, it can be sitting on a park bench with brown bag lunches. Bottom line is, when food is involved we can forge stronger relationships.