Food is the delivery system for the nutrients we require for survival. But, food can be much more than that. Food gives you things. If you don't give it the time of day, you are missing out. If you don't feel a connection to your food, you aren't trying hard enough.
Here is some food for thought:
1) Do you know where your last meal came from?
2) When was the last time you made a recipe from scratch?
3) When was the last time you harvested (hunted, gathered, or grew) the food on your plate?
When we invest our time into food, we gain the opportunity to influence and be influenced by others. Harvesting, preparing, and sharing the consumption of a meal provides the context to build better relationships. It also connects people, literally and figuratively, to their environment and peers.
Food gives people an excuse to gather round, work together and socialize. Food breaks down barriers and builds bridges. Some of my most formidable conversations, which have helped shape my perspective, have been manifested via good company, food, and drink.
When you sit around the table and eat there is something humanizing and communal about the experience. It is my belief that accomplishing hard things with others is the fastest and most effective way to forge strong human relationships. I have found the second most effective way is to build and consume a meal with others. When we sit to eat, that is not all we are doing. From start to finish, this ritual has been one of the most consistently rewarding activities I have experienced in this life.
When we use this tool, we have to remember to slow down. This notion is really the foundation of the slow food movement. Slow Food is an international organization, which was started by Carlo Petrini and a group of activists in the 1980s with the initial aim to defend traditions, good food, gastronomic pleasure and a slow pace of life. The original protest was in response to the development of a McDonalds at the Spanish Steps in Rome.
Not only is slow food viewed as an alternative to fast food, it strives to preserve traditional and regional food systems and encourages methods of local food procurement. Its goals of sustainable foods and promotion of local small businesses are paralleled by a political agenda directed against globalization of agricultural products.
At the heart of this group is really a point of view. Being a proponent of slow food indicates that you have put some thought into your relationship with the food you consume. Life is better without the total reliance on factory farming and processed food.
It’s true, you are what you eat. It’s also true that the things you eat, had a life of their own before you ate them. Within the context of an animal protein, the life of a living, breathing thing was taken to supply you with nutrients. We are quick to thank other people for their time, why not thank the animal on your plate for their life? There is an underlying principle of gratitude, which is vastly non-existent in the food system in North America.
It is a helpful thought exercise to have a think about that notion. There is a lot of work, love, and life that goes into food, which includes growing, harvesting, butchering, prepping, cooking, plating, and consuming.
We are in a perpetual hurried state, and we don’t have the time to know what we are eating, and where it comes from. There are innate connections between people, the planet, and animals. Many have stripped away the inherent association with their food. This is because of the time investment required.
We are so busy keeping busy that we are unable to allocate time to harvesting, preparing, and consumption of food in the same manner that we have done for thousands of years. I understand that our society is now built on a socio economic structure that has been manufactured on the basis of a five day work week. I am simply here to suggest why you should invest some of your precious time into food.
In summary, food is an avenue to connect with your peers and surroundings, if you are tuned in to listen. It is a great tool, you ought to learn how to use it.