The Power of Food

Rachel - Charlottesville, Virginia
Entered on February 26, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, pleasure
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I believe in food. Most people view food as just something to fill them up, but I think that food is a whole lot more than that. I believe in the power of food beyond its physical purposes; not only can it satisfy, but it can inspire unify people.

It all started when I was just a little girl. My parents showed me the ways food can entertain people and make people happy and I knew I wanted to do it too. One day my mom brought me into the kitchen, and propped me up on a chair so I could see over the counter just enough to stir whatever it was she was making. Even though I had no idea what I was doing, I was so excited to be helping my mom. And even though I’m sure it took her twice as long because she had to constantly watch over me, she taught me some of the most important things; besides the cooking basics she instilled a sense of fun in me. I have been hooked on cooking ever since. It slowly evolved from me being the kitchen helper to me being the cook of the house.

My favorite people to cook for are my family. Whenever my family gets together, it’s full of endless stories and tons of laughter. But as soon as dinner is ready, we find ourselves united around the table, giving thanks, and it’s quiet. It’s amazing to me that a meal can quickly quiet the most rambunctious bunch. So as soon as I was able to help around the kitchen, that’s exactly what I did. My dad always cooks the meat, my mom does the sides, my brother does the dishes, and I’m in charge of desserts. Cooking together, squished in the kitchen has become a tradition in my house. No matter the occasion, cooking has been one thing that we have always bonded over.

Not only does food unite people on a small scale such as in my family, but food is a universal part of every culture. A couple years ago, my soccer team went to Italy. We traveled through the major cities and played a different team each stop. After the games, we shared dinner in the hometown of the team we just played against. Regardless of the outcome of the game, the food brought two very different groups of people together. As my team tried to understand the questions and comments of the Italians, we just found ourselves giggling and stuffing our faces, as we had no idea what they were saying. Despite the language barrier, there was one thing that we had in common, a love and appreciation for soccer and Italian food.

My personal discovery of how food can bring people together and put smiles on all their faces has shown me that food is more than just what meets the stomach. It has powers beyond physical satisfaction; it evokes creativity and satisfies my soul.