BLOG 299 MEANING OF FOOD
We live in a food centered society that’s for sure. Every street is lined with food locations; commercials bombard our televisions; cooking is a hobby; and at least 3 times per day we think about eating. Let’s face it, we like to eat and it makes us feel good. Food has many symbolic meanings as well. This blog is even difficult to write as my stomach growls waiting for my next meal.
We know that food fuels our bodies, but it means so much more than that. Socially, food is shared and meals are eaten together. Check out this synopsis: “Food is almost always shared; people eat together; mealtimes are events when the whole family or settlement or village comes together. Food is also an occasion for sharing, for distributing and giving, for the expression of altruism, whether from parents to children, children to in-laws, or anyone to visitors and strangers. Food is the most important thing a mother gives a child; it is the substance of her own body, and in most parts of the world mother’s milk is still the only safe food for infants. Thus, food becomes not just a symbol of, but the reality of, love and security” (http://www.sirc.org/publik/food_and_eating_1.html).
We associate food with celebration and have acquired certain meals to symbolize these holidays and events. The most obvious would be the courses Thanksgiving is composed of, but think about birthday cake, hot dogs at baseball games, pizza for any occasion (haha), potlucks at work, Cinco De Mayo or St. Patrick’s Day, the list goes on and on. When I got straight A’s in school, Baskin Robbins ice cream was the reward to celebrate. A lot of these ties relate back to religious customs that most of us aren’t even aware of.
Food means prosperity. Having an extravagant feast is how kings and queens showed their affluence. The same holds true today in that we are able to impress others with the spread of choices or which location to meet and dine at. Being the host with the most holds value. So yes, even class can come into play with food. We even tend to associate eating organic as fancy compared to pre-packaged cheaper choices.
Eating truly can be an experience. When I returned from Italy, countless times I was asked about the food. And yes, the Italian food culture is different. To us, spaghetti in heaping portions is dinner, but to the Italians this is just one course and it was a smaller serving for sure. We meet our friends for lunch or drinks and the traditional date involves dinner and a movie. You get my drift. So no wonder food is a constant battle on our fitness journeys. Mind over matter. One better choice at a time. Think about food as fuel not the traditional associations. We can talk ourselves into anything is we really try.