Food as a Bonding Tool

April 3, 2010 | By | COMMENTS

Food as a Bonding Tool 1
When I started cooking, I had no idea that food would have such a profound effect on me. To me, food was merely sustenance. I was barely scratching the surface but I couldn’t see any deeper that that. The other, less noticeable “powers” of food were unbeknownst to me.

Food as a Bonding Tool 2
And then I got serious. I started working in a restaurant every week. I began to touch, to taste, to experience. I got into food to eat it, but stayed because of the preparation. I watched chefs at the restaurant become one with the food. A fish cook could fillet with his eyes closed, the grill man knew when a steak was done by touch. They never used tongs—those would damage the food—but were always gentle. I began to pick this up. I loved touching food. It made me feel more a part of the experience. My favorite thing to make was pasta because the kneading process got me involved: made me really feel like I was cooking. I got more intimate with food than I had with any girl.
Food as a Bonding Tool 3
Yet food and cooking are otherwise powerful too. There is nothing more relatable. Everyone knows food and everyone loves it. At parties I find myself engrossed in conversations about food with random strangers. The kids know nothing about me other than that I’m “the chef” but decide to talk to me because they known I too have experienced short ribs melting in my mouth, the perfect char on the outside of a steak, the buttery flaky crust of an apple pie. We know nothing about eachother but we are brought together by food. Food is the common denominator that allows us to be combined. My teachers lecture me on universal themes in literature yet food is the ultimate universal theme.
Food as a Bonding Tool 4<
Cooking has recently amazed me by its power to bring people together. My sister and I, who are otherwise not very close, have come together because of food. We cook together now: that’s our thing. It’s entertaining, it’s relaxing, it’s takes work, but it’s not work at all. Our lives are completely separate but we come together under the roof of cooking. We aren’t controlled by the tyranny of recipes– We’re free, we do what we want and we’re all the better for it. The food serves as a constant, bringing us together, holding us in place. We’ve made a lot of crazy things: brownie pies, blondies topped with chocolate chips with a graham cracker crust etc, but one of my favorites has been this pie crust which we spread with peanut butter, topped with chocolate chips, rolled up, brushed with egg wash and sprinkled with sugar. It’s child’s food, but it transcends age. We both love it, we begin to giggle as we eat it, and soon we can’t contain ourselves. Yet we don’t know what’s causing it. Food has that effect. I started cooking because I liked to eat, but I continue, because it’s so much more than that.

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