Gathering ‘Round the Table

This week I enjoyed hosting a “Gather ‘Round” event on behalf of CONSP!RE Magazine. A Gather ‘Round is really just a fancy name for dinner and discussion.

Several new and old friends gathered around to enjoy a feast. As we ate, we shared stories about food. From our favorite deserts (Justin likes Tiramasu) to our least favorite Holiday dishes that grandmother makes. Evan told stories of growing and canning food with his family, making us all laugh with his story of breaking hundreds of walnuts using a golf cart.

Bethany often eats meals in parts, especially at dinner. We realized that everyone in the group does this. Instead of making a full meal to sit down to, we’ll snack slowly, throughout the evening. We lamented the loss of sharing every meal with friends and family — our independence has left us eating meals alone.

Eric wants to eat healthier, and seeks creative ways to do so on a college student’s budget. Evan desires more fruits and vegetables, but how does a traveling musician, dependant on food served to him, eat only the healthy options while still being gracious towards a host? People take pride in food served to others, how do we build a relationship with someone if we’re not willing to eat their food?

Titled Food, Feast & Table, the current issue of CONSP!RE, offers articles and stories about the relationships between food and community.

“Eating is the most essential human practice, both habitual and symbolic. Food brings people together, but it can also divide them. Table fellowship (with whom, how, and what we eat) mirrors the inclusions and exclusions of the wider society. Food is, in short, both basic and profound.” -Chad Myers, p. 28. CONSP!RE, Fall 2011.

As we shared a meal together, read pieces of the magazine, and shared our stories, we built friendships.

If you have the chance to attend a Gather Round in your area, please do! Or call a few friends tonight and invite them over for dinner.

Also, consider reading the current issue of CONSP!RE. Not only is it a quality magazine, but I have an article in it, describing food deserts in the United States. Food deserts will receive a second mention on the blog next week, so read up!

Do you share meals with friends and family? Share your stories in the comments! We want to learn from you.

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