It’s interesting how community is so often built around food. Breaking bread together is the way we form relationships and bond. The people I know the best are the people with whom I’ve eaten, whether that’s lunch, breakfast, dinner, or just a coffee and some cookies. I’d venture to say that all cultures have strong traditions surrounding food and friendship, and I’m wondering if having others around with whom to share food in some way contributes to the nourishment we receive. When we eat alone, day after day after day…or if we eat on the run…as so many do…gulping down food on the way to a meeting, or racing to work…is that food absorbed differently from that which is savored and enjoyed while conversing with a companion? In our increasingly technology-dependent society, are we trading in-person relationships for on-line ones and, in the process, losing something very important? Is it possible that the obesity epidemic relates not just to what we eat but also how we eat, i.e., on auto-pilot and alone?
Friendships require personal interaction and sharing to grow. It takes time, trust, a willingness to share and take risks in order to grow a meaningful friendship. This happens easily over a meal or shared snack. Over time as this is repeated and grows, expands, and includes others in a developing network, it becomes the basis of community.