At the end of last week, I had the pleasure of joining the better half on a leisurely night out in Glasgow. We started the evening at one of our favourite Mexican restaurant in town and indulged in a round of potent margaritas. Afterwards, we met up with some friends for drinks and card games at a local pub before ending the night with a frantic rush to the chip shop, as is tradition. Curing the headache the next morning over a brew, we began talking about how much food we had consumed in just one evening out; we each ate full meals at dinner, continued to snack on crisps and a pizza later with friends, and it’s almost impossible to eat light at the chip shop when any amount of alcohol has been involved. In addition to being proud of all the amazing culinary choices we made, I started to realise how much of a role food plays in our social sphere.
Nearly all of life’s major events are accompanied by food: weddings, funerals, holidays, the list goes on. Family is bearable when you have your mother’s Bolognese or stovies turn too. Escaping to the food table with your sister when at your cousin’s wedding to gorge on the wedding cake is a rite of passage.
Food is even there for us as individuals accompanying small victories. When we are having a good day, we celebrate with food and drink with pals and if we are having a bad day, we celebrate with food, drink and Netflix. The term “comfort food” applies to both of these situations. These are specific foods that we use to make us feel better about our lives when we are down or to indulge in when we deserve it. They keep us going. These two bits of life’s necessities always bring people together unlike anything else. The amount of times a good spread has gotten me to stay at a party with people I otherwise wouldn’t socialise with is too much to remember. Food helps us connect to others. A first date usually has dinner attached to either drinks or a movie. When I meet a friend for a catch-up, coffee and cake is standard. It’s in these moments of intimacy that food brings us together. We meet for the common goal of socialising and enjoying the company of other humans with the safety net of food; sometimes the only commonality (especially on a bad first date).
Actually writing this, I have grown quite hungry. I’ll probably grab brunch (the most important meal of the day) with the other half and talk about how much we love the rain. Or, maybe we’ll postpone food until lunch and talk about our plans for this week (which will include the next meal we share together). Either way, food is in our future. It’s one of the ways we connect. The two of us talk about our days, share funny jokes, and people watch like it’s an Olympic sport.
Nothing made me happier than when greasy pizza and a night in was suggested a few weeks ago to decompress from a crazy work week and for some reason, every time one of us is feeling off, the other buys mass amounts of crisps and chocolate in an attempt to lighten the mood. Food matters and it is one of the most overlooked forms of social bonding. In good times and bad, sickness and health, it always there, the endless buffet of life.