Food is tied up with so many mental, emotional, even spiritual connotations. We eat food to comfort ourselves . . . to hide behind our flesh . . . to show dominance . . . to show friendship . . . to symbolize a connection . . . to show love . . . to show concern . . . to build communion with others . . . to give respect . . . the list goes on and on. Usually it has something to do with nourishing, but often it is not physical. (As I wrote about here.) Or we don’t eat food . . . to take back control . . . to make ourselves disappear . . . because we learned to hate ourselves . . . to punish someone . . . because society tells us skinny is better . . . for many reasons.
For a variety of physical reasons, I have to be a little careful about what I eat. Yet I work in a place where my co-workers and clients really care about food (for cultural reasons). They care about cooking good food, and it is a bonding experience. When there are committee meetings after 5 p.m., the committee expects food to be provided. Agency time is spent preparing that food. Or when we celebrate a coworker’s birthday, we go out to eat; there is always great discussion about the pros and cons of various establishments, and firm opinions. I work where there are animated discussions about food on a daily basis.
Having to be careful about what I eat is a pain. I actually like the things I can eat; oatmeal is my favorite, and salads and most veggies are yummy. 🙂 But eating out makes things tricky. Not being able to eat what someone has brought to share may be seen as an insult. Even at a potluck, I have seen people watch who eats what. I wish eating was a simple, physical exercise, without all the landmines.
What do you think/feel about food?