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Food for Thought - Mealtimes Can Be Educational and Enjoyable, Too

by Karen Stephens
May/June 1997
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Growing, gathering, and hunting food together. Preparing it, displaying it, and sharing it with others. For humans, it's an ancient bonding ritual.

Over time, the ritual has evolved and been refined. It varies creatively according to specific family, culture, climate, and country. But the common thread of the ritual remains providing food for survival.

Eating together is the process by which we nourish future generations - physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually. What, when, and how we prepare and offer food is interwoven with how we court and wed, how we rear children, how we celebrate, worship, honor, and even mourn.

In no small way, dressing tables to "break bread" together keeps the wheels of civilization in motion, it's socialization at its most pure and simple. Sharing meals shows concern and respect for others. Relationships are formed, and daily reaffirmed. A sense of belonging, an ethic of consideration and generosity, a dedication to community is passed from adult to child, then enjoyed peer to peer.

Child care programs - serving breakfast, two snacks, lunch, and sometimes an evening meal - provide children with up to 75% of their daily nutrition. The part we play in providing sustenance is dovetailed with promoting social and cultural attachments. Feeding children ...

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