Preparing food and sharing it with friends and family has long been an important aspect of eating. However this practice is increasingly becoming an individual act. Often, even when eating together individuals are more involved with distractions such as television or communicating externally through mobile devices.
Convenience, price, calories, nutrients, fats, etc. are what most people in so called "developed countries" consider when making their daily food choices. Under these conditions many would consider a "health drink" and a fast food salad a reasonable meal. Lunch breaks are often squeezed into a half hour period and in many workplaces lunch breaks are taken at the desk lest a person be considered not serious about the job. The lunch break often allows just enough time for you to go to the closest food court or hop in your car go to a fast food outlet and consume your meal while heading back to work. Even if the choice of food is healthy it is often consumed alone!
Throughout most of history, bonds and shared cultures have been created when meals are prepared and shared. We need to bring the importance of community back into food. Our heritage is often passed down and intimately bound up in the food we eat. Food availability, climate and cooking techniques, evolved over many generations have united individuals and groups of people into a distinct culture.
If we do not take the time to teach the younger generations how to cook and interact with food they will not be able to engage with their culture and bond with the past. Sharing food and cooking techniques with family and friends gives them a chance to learn about your culture. Giving the cultures a taste, a smell, a feeling can increase respect and understanding between groups of people. The emotional impact that sharing food has on individuals, family or groups of people cannot be underestimated. The intimate first date, family celebration, business meal or a major festive event helps develop relationships and if combined with traditional food reinforces cultural identity.
Culture, emotions, and bonding are all integral parts of preparing and eating a meal. We are at risk that our busy lifestyle. work pressures and in some cases economic problems are causing us to overlook the importance of social eating We need to make social eating more of a priority in our eating habits. The connections that food can create between people are too valuable to overlook.