By Kate Dugan
We just had some friends over for dinner. I’m sitting here in the lull after a lovely evening. The dishes are mostly done and we’re quieting down for the night. There really is something about breaking bread with good people that just soothes my soul. It was a simple meal—free-range chicken, fresh salad, wheat bread. And we sort of use the meal as an excuse to get together. We shape out plans around eating, as if there’d be no reason to be together if we weren’t eating, too.
I love that. I love that we seem to instinctually want—crave—to nourish our bodies as we nourish our social and emotional lives.
Humans through the ages have shared meals together, nourished both body and soul. It is, I think, one of our best traits. We have built religious traditions, social customs, and cultural norms around them. I remember when I first realized that Communion really means a shared meal with other Catholics—that, I understood long before the Transubstantiation made any sense to me.
In my job as a Nutrition Educator, I recently attended a lecture about the health—physical, mental, emotional, and developmental—benefits of sharing meals with others. They range from increased self esteem to stronger language acquisition to a reduced chance of obesity. I know this science, these statistics.
Yet, it is the emotional joy of shared meals that keeps me planning social events around food.
What are some ways you break bread with the important people in your life? How are your traditions shaped around nourishing body & soul at the same time?
Kate Dugan is one of the co-editors of From the Pews in the Back. She & her husband recently moved onto their live-aboard boat. Look forward to future blogs about how this adventure interacts with being Catholic!
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