Sharing Meals

Feb 26, 2013

 

Elaina Conley-Keck - Springfield High School
Credit Randy Eccles / WUIS/Illinois Issues

I believe in the importance of sharing a meal with someone; I believe the bond formed is unlike any other and the significance of this is so often lost on people today. My grandfather remarked over winter break when my family was staying at my grandparents’ house that, “we always seem to be cooking, eating or heading out to the grocery store.” During the holidays the kitchen becomes the focal point around which the entire household seems to turn. The preparation of food and then sitting down to have a meal with loved ones, or maybe someone you are just getting to know, is an important ritual that leads to some of the best friendships and memories.

Sharing a meal with someone can help us to slow down and reminds us to appreciate the world and what we have.

All our favorite family stories take place around my grandparent’s dining room table. About five years ago we were gathered around the table for Christmas dinner and my uncle told us a joke. We chuckled and rolled our eyes but my uncle seemed to think this was total comedic brilliance; he started rocking back and forth in his chair laughing. Then, we heard an ominous crack and my uncle disappeared under the table, still laughing, as his chair fell to pieces. Now we all laugh at him and at the face he made as he dropped under the table. Of course we had to tell the story to my uncle’s new in-laws at his wedding a year ago. When we get together, the dining room table is where people gather to share in wonderful food and lasting memories. The kitchen is always warm with ovens constantly going, full of baking cakes or roasting turkeys, and this warmth carries out into our conversation during the meal. 

Sharing a meal with someone forms a special kind of bond as you come together and take part in the food. From the lively conversation to splitting a new dessert, taking the time to sit down and eat with someone creates a lasting memory. These days it’s so easy to get caught up in a world of instant meals and smart phones that lunch time become a silent, self-absorbed experience. On any given day I can look around the commons at lunch and see entire tables immersed in their own social network worlds. When we take the time to prepare our food and sit down to a meal we gain an appreciation for the food and the people we share it with. The fact that we have such access to foods and we can take simple, fresh ingredients and turn them into a delightful meal is a gift we should not take for granted. Sharing a meal with someone can help us to slow down and reminds us to appreciate the world and what we have. I believe the simple act of sitting down to share in a meal with someone should be treasured, it builds up new friendships, strengthens old ones and we could all benefit from taking things slow every once in a while.