When eating a meal, the primary focus is to provide fuel for your body. However – that’s not the only important aspect. Meals can also be valuable social events that brought people together for centuries. Cooking and eating together with family and friends can be a terrific way to socialize while enjoying the greatness of food with one another.
George Simmel, a sociologist & philosopher from the 1800s-1900s, said that meals symbolize how humans differ from animals – animals eat, but only humans participate in cultivated meals. He also said that meals are a place where humans create social norms on how to behave around food and pointed out the importance of meals for the community (1).
Although he wrote about these ideas over 100 years ago, he has a point – the social aspect of eating is very important for people’s well-being and health. For a lot of people, the meal also means a break between daily routines. Eating a nutritious, delicious meal is often more fun when done together with people we love.
Eating together with someone or as a group of people even has its own word – commensality (2). Commensality also includes the bonding that occurs when having a joint meal which brings people closer to one another. Not only does commensality include eating the exact same dish together – it also includes sitting at the same table eating different food. So when you and your coworkers sit together with packed lunches in the lunchroom at your office – that’s commensality right there!
Eating alone also means that you might not put as much effort into your meals as you would have if you were cooking for someone else. Going for the less healthy, fast options might therefore be more tempting. Eating together offers the perfect opportunity to share knowledge and ideas for cooking nutritious, healthy meals.
During times when you can’t gather your friends and family for delicious feasts, book virtual meals to maintain the social aspect of eating! Arranging a virtual lunch date with some friends creates the perfect break in your daily schedule and will enhance your day! Or why don’t you invite your friends, family or neighbors for a Sunday dinner virtual group conference?
If you can meet your loved ones, we challenge you to cook at least two meals for them this upcoming week. Why don’t you try out one of the recipes below? You will not be disappointed – neither will the ones you cook for!
If you can meet your bellowed ones, we challenge you to cook at least two meals for them the upcoming week. Why don’t you try out to cook one of the recipes below? You will not be disappointed – neither will the ones you cook for!
1. Simmel, Georg. 1994. “The sociology of the meal”. Food and Foodways : Explorations in the History and Culture of Human Nourishment.
2. Fischler, Claude. ‘Commensality, Society and Culture’, Social Science Information, vol. 50/no. 3-4, (2011), pp. 528-548.
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