Vail Daily columnist Linda Stamper Boyne: But food is love, it turns out
Vail, CO, Colorado
My dog is part Labrador retriever, so in other words, he’s part food hound.
He’s never met a food he doesn’t like. There was a time he would eat anything: carrots, avocado, apples, nuts, cheese, crackers, pizza, pasta, you name it.
He was incredibly helpful when the boys were toddlers and there was more than the occasional bit of food that hit the floor. I had my own furry Roomba, coming in to clean the floor like a little robotic vacuum after each meal.
Hence, we have to watch his weight. The Man Formerly Known As My Husband was not the best at saying no to his barked requests for treats and an overflowing bowl of kibble. If I went away for a week, I’d return to find a more rotund dog.
“Good Lord! How much did you feed him? He looks like one of those cartoons of the dog who turns into a blimp from eating too much,” I’d say to him each time this happened.
“I know,” he’d reply. “But it makes him so happy. I can’t refuse him.”
“Food is not love,” I’d remind the enabler.
But I’ve recently revamped my assertion. And applied it to humans, I might add.
While food itself is not love, for no amount of food will fill any void left in us by emotional issues, I think the act of sharing a meal together is. What better way to connect with other people than to break bread together?
Studies show that families who eat meals together around a table every day have children with higher self-esteem, who interact better with their peers and are more resilient in the face of adversity. Who knew that mac and cheese had that power?
The conversations that take place around the table build a child from the inside. Just as the food is nourishing them and helping them grow, the act of eating together is building their social skills and their self confidence. They participate in conversation, they are heard, they feel loved.
I grew up eating dinner together with my family. Even when my dad worked late and my sister and I were in high school and busy with all sorts of activities, my mom made a point of getting us together almost every night.
It is a tradition I have carried through my own family. Not only do I get to share a meal and conversation with my boys, I hear the most interesting things through mouths full of food!
Apparently there is also a connection between older people eating alone and malnutrition. Those who share meals tend to eat a greater amount and variety of food, not to mention the social aspect of being with others. Eating together is the key to longevity!
Sharing a meal builds community. It encourages interactions and connections between people to build. And honestly, being a great lover of good food, it has become one of my favorite things to do.
Part of my job as a concierge is to be able to talk knowledgeably about the restaurants in the area. So that means the tough job of eating in all these fine establishments falls to me. I will gather a group to check out the food, the service and the ambiance and spend a delightful evening talking and eating.
I love my job.
One of my current favorites offers a chance to connect with others even if you are solo. The kitchen bar at Dish in Edwards forms the divider between the open kitchen and the dining room. Half a dozen diners can eat, drink and be merry at the bar, whether part of a group or on their own.
In addition to wonderful food, there is a great sense of community in that space. You can chat with Chef Jenna and her staff as they cook or have a conversation with the person next to you that usually starts with discussion the food and can end up in a whole other place. It’s a shared experience, a floor show and a great meal all in one.
So while I love food, what I love more is having that time to be with the people I care about and feed my soul.
Linda Stamper Boyne of Edwards can be contacted through editor@
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