What is it about eating that brings us together?

In the recent post “All my passions grew on the mountain,” Selkirk college student Lesley Garlow said that cooking and eating food with her family and friends is one of the things that makes her life worth living:

When family comes together to break bread, I believe magic happens somewhere between the ceremony of setting the table and the “please pass the peas.”  It warms me to my very core to see everyone smiling and gathered together – especially when the food is a direct product of my love and hard work.  I believe homegrown food nurtures the body more completely somehow, and being able to provide that for my family gives me a strong sense of accomplishment.”

read more @


Along similar lines, the December, 2014 Time magazine  is all about the bonding power of cooking and eating:

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Tenth Street residence advisors and nursing students share a meal and conversation about substance use and healthy cultures

Cooking  and eating with groups is a great way to create a sense of community.

              – Selkirk student, Dinner Club 2014

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I would have to say what stood out the most was the food preparation – it was such a comfortable atmosphere.  It was natural to start a conversation, get to know someone that you have never met before by just cutting up some vegetables together.

– Alana Marshall, Third Year Nursing student about a Dinner Basket Conversation at Tenth Street Residence


 Food is more than survival. With it we make friends,  court lovers and count our blessings.”

National Geographic, Dec. 2014

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I really enjoyed participating in the Dinner Basket Conversation evening. I particularly like how inclusive the meal sharing and conversation felt. It was obvious that everyone sharing and listening respected personal insight and valued the learning from other’s experiences. The social responsibility aspect of the conversation was positive; there is plenty of greatness in our community! Having multiple backgrounds and perspectives made the evening fly by.

Jacqui, third year nursing student

atitlandinner“My father considered the simple act of sharing a meal and conversation to be the most advanced spiritual training.  As we eat and talk, we relax our senses and touch the goodness that is always omnipresent.  The underlying force is the beating heart of all humanity, and in this heart lies our future.”

–  Sakyong Mipham,  Tibetan Rinpoche speaking of his father Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche


and here are some quotes from students at a Crawford Bay Dinner Basket Conversation:

There was a tolerance for exploration and an opening to learning from each other.  There was a leveling of the playing field as we all “broke bread together.”

Good healthy food naturally connects to healthy conversation.

Most oftP1090599en in our lives we are insular and habituated socially – this event shows how to bridge that.

The connection between sharing meals and creating community was one of the strengths of early Christianity.  It behooves our modern families and society as a whole to remember the value and healthy outcomes from “dinner time.”



Good food + Good Conversation means a healthy culture”   – Castlegar Selkirk College student at a Dinner Basket Conversation

So, do you think cooking and eating bring people together?  Why do you think that is?  Is it something you do with your friends?  

Send us your pictures and comments and we’ll post them here!  Or, if you want more information about hosting a dinner basket conversation

contact  Holli –  hnorberg@uvic.ca

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3 responses to “What is it about eating that brings us together?

  1. I believe that the act of sharing food is largely responsible for the sense of home I experience today.

    When my wife and I moved to the Slocan Valley six years ago we struggled to find a sense of belonging. There seemed to be so many lovely people in the area but the geographic distance, the lack of a non-commercial gathering place, and the simple nature of being new to an area felt like insurmountable barriers at times. Even after meeting a handful of friends it felt limiting to have to schedule times to hang out with one person or couple at a time.

    So, after living here for a year or so we decided to start hosting dinners in our home. We put the word out to anyone we wanted to get to know: every Saturday night — rain or shine — you are invited to our place to share food and company. Feel free to bring food if you are able, but if you can’t or don’t feel up for bringing food, please come anyway.

    It was a beautiful thing. Every Saturday, a unique and, somehow, perfect combination of guests would arrive. We would always make a big pot of soup or something to share and there was always enough. We could always put on a pot of rice if more people than expected arrived. Many of our new friends brought their friends and our sense of community widened.

    Sometimes no one would come and then, after the initial moment of disappointment (or relief), we would cuddle together or read a book aloud.

    We hosted these dinners for five years. Over the years, many people told us how important it had been for them to know that there was consistently a place where they were welcome. Though we were becoming increasingly settled in the valley we would often have folks who were new to the area drop by for dinners. They often expressed to us later how important the dinners had been for them in connecting to the community here.

    Last year, we decided to take a break from hosting these dinners. We were sad to give up the tradition but wanted a break from the responsibility of holding the continuity of it all. To our delight, another couple stepped in and carried on the tradition. They continue hosting weekly dinners to this day.

    Sharing food functions like so many of the past times we share with others: it has its own virtues but it is ultimately a vessel. It is a container that we use to hold and transfer the intangibles: support, companionship, gratitude and kindness.

  2. Pingback: Dinner Club strikes again -Anisa’s Kitchen: Two new easy recipes for hungry students | Campus Conversations·

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