OPINION: Don’t forget to eat and eat well

Scott Rainey (New)

Scott Rainey

Taking the first bite of your favorite meal is a surreal experience. Good food is something everyone should get behind. It literally fixes your body, allows you to function properly and it’s delicious. Think about your favorite food for a minute and tell me you don’t immediately feel happier.

One of the best ways to connect with people, enjoy yourself and promote happiness is to eat a delicious meal with good friends or family. The meal, for centuries, has been the main event in communities and families around the world. They knew how good their food was, and they thought they ought to share it with folks. Bonding over food allowed them to survive, join teams and hunt for more food. There’s a reason that almost all successful travel shows and blogs include the local cuisine and the people who make it.

Today, while many people around the country and world still partake in the ritual of dining with friends and family, it has become less of a priority for our modern culture.

For the average college student, the meal is often something we see less as an event and more as a break, something to do while we avoid work or while we swipe away on our phones. It makes sense, considering how crammed a college student’s schedule can be—and their lack of money. These are important issues to consider, but despite these obstacles, food is something that we should cherish, not something that distracts us from our daily lives.

The best way to honor the food you have is to consider the path it took to get to your plate. That chicken had a life. It probably had some chicken friends. That cow (hopefully) roamed pastures, soaked up the sun, and ate food that was grown by other farmers who tediously worked in the fields each day to cultivate their crops. The apple in your hand was planted, grown and harvested, all by human hands and for you to literally enjoy the fruits of their labor.

As you take a bite of that apple, and you think about the ecological and economical processes that delivered that taste, you’re really going to savor it. It also tastes really good. If you focus on your food like this, eating becomes a wonderful experience. Then you get to brag to your friends about how well you ate!

You most certainly can—and should—do this alone, from time to time. If you can sit down with other people for dinner, though, you shouldn’t waste that opportunity.

I have devoted more time to creating a meal for dinner in recent semesters. I have also made sure that others are eating with me more often than not. I’m buying ingredients and cooking them. I’m searching for recipes that are going to be delicious, and then I’m trying them out. I’m inviting my friends over to eat with me. The next week, they’re cooking and inviting me to eat. We will eat a meal, watch a movie, drink some wine, play a game or listen to music. So many things are possible when you invite people over for a meal. You can even pull up a ten-hour YouTube video of a fireplace for ambiance. That’s what I do, and it really warms the place.

Cooking for yourself and others is magic. The sights, sounds, smells and tastes of a night filled with cooking, laughing and an LCD fireplace provide an escape from the craziness from the world and an insight into what it truly means to be a human… a human that eats!

Scott Rainey is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected].