This I Believe- Have Faith in Food
I believe in food. Food has the power to nourish, to bring people together, to unite and to sooth. Food’s basic job is to enter the body — from mouth, to esophagus, to stomach — where food, broken down by gastric juices, becomes bile, traveling to the small intestines where it is absorbed, nourishing the body’s cells. These are the facts, the essential reason we eat. But it is not the essential truth about why we eat.
We eat to relax; we eat to be social; we eat to honor ourselves and others. Throughout the centuries, civilizations have used food as the basis for their social gatherings, whether it be the Native Americans eating a freshly killed bear around a fire, the Romans surrounding a mensa (Latin for table), chomping down on some garum and bread, or the modern day American family surrounding and devouring a pepperoni pizza. Food has been the pinnacle of countless social occasions, whether it be getting together to celebrate a birthday dinner, going on that awkward first date at a romantic Italian restaurant, hanging out with friends at a local diner, or meeting the boss for a power lunch. Relaxing people, socializing, and punctuating special occasions; this is why we use food as the centerpiece of social gatherings.
In the modern world, rival nations fight over land, power, weapons, money, and more; sometimes they don’t even know what they are fighting for. Perhaps language barriers and cultural differences keep people apart. But one thing has the power to unite — food. We may not understand one another’s language or customs, but we all understand good food, whether it is a delectable plate of lo-mein, an exotic spicy tandori chicken bowl, a plate of exquisite caviar, a sumptuous bowl of pasta, a rich creamy coq au vin, a sizzling fajita, or simply an all-American hamburger. Can you imagine the Queen of England or the president of China coming to the United States and the U.S. president not throwing a state dinner in their honor?
I believe in food for other reasons. Food provides emotional support to those in need – chocolate to replace a lost love, macaroni and cheese to provide comfort for those under duress, chocolate chip cookies for those who miss their families. Food is also an art form, allowing distinguished chefs the opportunity to display their best crème brulee. Food also contributes to the national health – for example, chicken soup’s healing powers and the magic medicine called broccoli. While food will never replace religion as a source of faith, the power food is something we can all believe in.
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