The power and unity of Food.

A unifying force in the world is food. The coming together of people and families to eat together is a sacrosanct thing in the world. What is it about food that brings us in so that we can celebrate something? It’s not just religion there is also the ancient tradition of hospitality in the Scottish Highlands where a traveller can ask for board and lodgings (blown to bits by the Glencoe Massacre and still remembered today as a huge affront).  Let’s look at some of the times in our lives where food unites us one and all. We often think of meals we enjoy in restaurants where the chefs work hard over a Commercial 4 Burner Gas Oven from as ways in which we best unite with others, but a celebratory meal at home can have exactly the same effect.

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  1. Christmas time. The 25th December is an established date, fixed in time and the year. It is the event that ends the year and is seen as a time for family. The Christmas Dinner, a roast of Turkey, Goose or Beef is one of the most observed traditions in our calendar.
  2. Eid al-Fitr. This is a massive event for our Muslim community and is the Islamic equal of Christmas. If you are lucky to be invited to this feast you be well fed. It is the end of Ramadan and all the family cook and prepare a great meal to celebrate the end of the fasting. They will all have new outfits to show off as well in a joyous time.

Hanukkah. This is a Jewish holiday were the celebration of the rebellion of the Maccabies. Again the important element is food here as the special latke potato pancakes come out along with the sufganiyots or doughnuts as we would know it, made with jam or custard inside

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3. Wedding/ anniversary, birthday, christening. We’ve all got an Aunty and Uncle that have somehow made it through the years to stay married. There is a distant cousin who’s got married or had a kid. Whatever the occasion lots of party food is brought out. Is there anything more unifying than a round of warm party sausage rolls, Ham and Cheese sandwiches, the amazing combination of pineapple and cheese on a stick and a great big cake?

Why does food unite us? Because it marks occasions and spurs memories. Like our Palaeolithic ancestors gathering around a fire to eat the days hunt and produce, it is a timeless human tradition.