Saturday, May 3, 2014

Food for Emotion

I hadn't really thought about how one uses food to express their emotion until I witnessed something while dining out at a restaurant this past week. At the table behind us sat three men in uniform and across the room there were a group of college guys from Butler University all huddled around the table. Near the end of our meal we head one of the men in uniform ask for their checks. When the waitress returned she had a huge smile on her face and told them that the table of college boys who had just walked out the door all chipped in together to cover their bill. It was quite a sight to see the waitress tell them this and too see the looks on their faces afterwards.

Now, this is something we hear about all the time. We hear about things like this happening all the time. We see in outline, hear about it on the news or read about it on social media. But very seldom do we actually witness an act of kindness and expression of emotion like this. This act however had me thinking about how often we do see people use food in acts like this to express their emotion about a certain situation.

Not only do people use food to say things like thank you and show respect by doing something like  foot the bill for a couple of US Soldiers that they see sitting across the restaurant. But we also use food to show many many other emotions as well. The one that sticks out most to me is the use of food to show condolence after a family ahs lost a loved one.

In our society when we hear of a family losing a loved one, one of the first things people do is bring food to the home. On one hand this is done so that the family doesn't have to worry about something else like cooking at a time like this, but it is also our way of grieving with the family. I find it interesting that when expressing this emotion of grievance one of the first things we turn to use is food. Bringing food to those that lost the loved one creates a bond between those who are all grieving together. Personally, I hadn't witnessed this until my grandfather died two years ago and it seemed like every friend and distant family member brought food to the home where our family was gathered.

I believe that these two examples of using food to grieve and to say thank you/show respect really hot on how food is used much more than we think to show our emotions. Yes, we all have the times when we emotionally eat our feelings whether those are happy, sad, scared... whatever it might be. But, I think it is amazing how we can also use food to bond us together and share our emotion with others in such an amazing way!

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