Today, a friend and I had a conversation about the role that relationships can play in our enjoyment of food. For example, when I prepare dishes using my mother’s recipes, the flavor is the same but the experience is often less fulfilling than enjoying a meal she has prepared for me. Similarly, when I prepare a meal for my fiancé and myself, I often enjoy the dish more than I do when I am the only one eating.
It is not only the flavor of a dish or the quality of the ingredients that contributes to our enjoyment. It is the energy surrounding the food – and the consumption of it. When a meal is prepared and eaten with love, it is generally more enjoyable.
Yes, this phenomenon can lead to emotional eating when we try to recreate the positive memories and feelings associated with particular foods. But it also has the potential to be quite beneficial. When we enjoy food on the level of the spirit, we are often more likely to feel more fulfilled, meaning we consume fewer empty calories than we do when we eat processed foods, which are less fulfilling. When we eat processed food, we often must eat more to feel fulfilled. In addition, when we learn to appreciate the deep, emotional nourishment that food can offer us in a balanced way, we are likely to choose high quality foods that can offer that kind of sustenance.