Friday, January 30, 2009

The Meaning of a Meal

When someone asks you to share a meal with you, what are they really asking of you?

What do you think?

Before the nightclub, designer drugs and Entourage, society used meals as a focal point to gather and commune. A meal can mean love. A meal can mean long laughs. It can mean surprise, disappointment, lust or even heartache. It means support, it means sustenance. But most of all, it means time. A meal can mean hours, and it can mean a moment. A meal is the most socially dynamic event in any person’s life, but yet no attention has ever been paid to the intangible nutritional values.

To its most primal core, a meal provides us with sustenance in all forms the human needs. Protein gives us the building blocks for muscles to grow. Fruits and vegetables give us the requisite vitamins to aide in our health and strength. Starches give us the fuel to face another day. A balanced meal, according to the food pyramid, can give us all the tangible inputs to sustain human existence.

But one thing ignored in the guide to health was the intangible benefits of food. Sitting down for a meal means more than just consumption of calories. It means consciously taking time out of your schedule, whether it’s a long formal dinner, or just a quick run to McDonalds, to spend with a special person. Whether it’s a business person aiming to close that next big deal, or a newlywed couple celebrating their first night on honeymoon, people use meal time to pause and focus on some particular topic. Human beings all need to eat. One of the most powerful historic images of the power of a meal continues to be the Christian image of The Last Supper. If Jesus could find time to break bread with those whom he loved so dearly so near to his prophesized demise, can we not take time out to share a meal with those around us, loved and unloved?

No one has quantified the health benefits of a good conversation with friends. Or how about the antioxidants produced when your mother cooked your favorite meal after the big game when you were a child. But the next time you sit down to your meal, whether in a restaurant or at home, be sure to season your dining table with the healthiest of ingredients – good people and positive energy.

To your health!

-The UE


rif said...


I couldn't agree with you more. When I was in Spain, I went to a Moroccan restaurant. The owner was the chef, host, waiter and busboy. He had 5 tables in there and took pride in serving families for 3 hours at a time. He explained that he was not about turnover of patrons like most restaurants in the West. He wanted people to fellowship for hours. He said that if he served 5 tables all night, his job was done stating that people need to slow dine and enjoy each other's company. That is the essence of life. Good column!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back..
I guess my subconscious was right to have a sudden disdain for something that sounds rash! There is no Fast Lane when indulging in company and a delicious meal if that is what truly fulfills the lust of a meal...