Our friends and business partners prepared a wonderful meal for us as a gift for Robert’s birthday. It was a carefully planned and beautifully executed meal that was served to us in our own home – an experience that we have not had before. It was absolutely lovely. They themselves cook and serve people food all day long, and going to this kind of effort on their night off was a real sacrifice. Sitting together, laughing and sharing with family, and indulging in their inventive food was priceless.
The act of sharing a meal has so much more to do than just eating the food off of a plate . Awesome food can be utterly ruined by who you are sharing it with. I’ve witnessed people seeminlgy endure a seven course meal with delicious food because they obviously did not enjoy the company at the table. I’ve sometimes wondered what possibly could have happened prior to showing up for dinner (a fight? a betrayal?) that would result in three hours of silence – or do some people really live like this? Or trying to text at the table undectected (I once mistook someone’s texting in their lap with praying) – don’t even get me started…
Because eating is not just about consuming calories for energy, one word about picky eaters. For those who devote their lives to preparing delicious food, this is a sensitive topic. One may say, “It’s not personal, I just don’t like ______ (seafood, mushrooms, spicy food, you name it). To us, a rejection of the food that is made in love – often rejected before even trying it – is a rejection of the hands that prepared it.
Because food is people.
How is food people to you?
10 Comments Add yours
“food is people” on a very fundamental level is where your $ goes for the food that you buy. whom does that support? does it line the pockets of fritolay/pepsico executives? or a local restaurant or farmer?
seriously, eating locally and healthily is one of the hardest things to do in our consumer society. you are what you eat! (also what you drink! microbrews for me, please.)
When I was a cook at Head Start, if a kid said “I don’t like_______ they were encouraged to take a “No thank you bite” before rejecting it completely. Adults should do the same. Tastes change and different preparations have different results.
We grew up trying everything,,, where ever we were eating. My parents called it a “No thank you helping”. A reasonable portion, 2-3 bites, to introduce our palates to diversity and variety. Much like the way we were raised in life, we were taught to challenge our selves and perceptions and to be willing to try different things.
I must have tried and choked on eggplant 10 times before I found somebody who knew the correct way to prepare it before cooking it.
Shrimp often caused me problems… I like shrimp now but really have a problem with the boiling spices it was often cooked in when I was growing up.
I love stretching my experience and tastes to new options… some good and some not. My children were raised in a similar way, making the exception for allergies.
I mostly try to respect and challenge. Respect someone’s likes and dislikes but challenge them with a dish they wouldn’t try if I didn’t make it. For me, food is always better with people. I find it hard to make something very nice just for me; it’s not the same
Amen! for your definition of picky eaters!
Well written, and thought provoking post, Molly, around the meals we eat and who we choose to eat them with when dining out.
The cost, convenience and customization of the fast food that is out there today for us to consume, has sadly made it difficult for the common man to understand the value of eating fresh, local and creative food. It has created a culture of unchallenged palates. Those who wonder why they should ever have to “have-it-the-Chef’s-way” vs. “always-having-it-their- own-way.”
Add to that the various allergies, picky eaters, eating disorders and people who must eat a certain restrictive diet due to political and religious beliefs. You can see why we have a culture of people who want just what they want when they want it.
I 100% support Chefs who believe that fixed menus are the best menus. They not only show us what is inspiring the Chef, highlight local and seasonal ingredients, but it allows us to decide if a place is “for us or not”. If the Chef does not prepare food you like, you should not go back. If they prepare food customized 10 different ways to fit your needs, then you should be the one in the kitchen cooking it yourself . . .Where is the Chef in that process? Where is the food?
If you go to Chipotle and customize your burrito and you still don’t like it, whose fault is that? Yours, because you designed it? Or theirs, because they knew that by “making it your way” it would be too hot to eat and overpower the balance of all the other flavors in a dish?
I say, let’s stop eating out for cost, convenience and customization and let’s start cooking in for those things.
Let’s eat out to try something new and original with people who we love and want to be with. Let’s give our money to the Chefs and restaurants that keep surprising us with their creativity, innovation, atmosphere, experience and service.
I say reward the good behavior and embrace the fixed menu. Choice is not always a good thing.
“There are things you do because they feel right and they may make no sense and they may make no money and it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other and to eat each other’s cooking and say it was good.” – Brian Andreas
Food is people to me because preparing and eating one another’s food is such an intimate act. There are few acts of caring that are greater than providing someone with nourishment that has been created and served with care and thought. Likewise, accepting an offering of such food is an agreement to enter into this intimate interaction.
Many years ago we stayed with a French innkeeper and his wife in New Mexico. Their sons ran a ski lodge where we had stayed many times. We always pthe wonderful food they prepared. Pappa’s food was superb. He and his wife were so gracious and welcoming, we loved our visit. On the last night of our stay, he told us he would prepare his most special dessert for us. In the middle of dinner, Pappa asks us if we like bananas. Neither my mother nor I can stand bananas. Unfortunately we answered that it wasn’t our favorite. Pappa was crest-fallen. Of course, dessert was a banana specialty. I ate it, but I felt so bad because he knew my mother and I didn’t love it. Fortunately, everyone else did.
Now I try to keep an open mind about any food anyone else prepares. I’ll try anything and won’t ever say that I don’t like a food. I’m always willing to be surprised.
I was visiting my sister once when she made a beautiful roast chicken with herbs under the skin for me and her boyfriend. When he came over he said he wasn’t hungry and was going to skip dinner. She was crushed. He must have known that food is love. They’re not together any more.