Dr. Bill Atwood

Share a meal with someone special and enjoy a truly human experience

Dr. Bill Atwood recommends sharing a meal with someone special.
Dr. Bill Atwood recommends sharing a meal with someone special. Fresno Bee archive

Of all the species on this planet it happens that the humans are the only ones who eat socially. Many of the other species eat in packs or as a group because of safety or the quantity of the prey to be eaten. However, it is mankind that eats with an aspect that involves others.

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We eat not only to survive but to meet and greet one another. We eat to celebrate at happy occasions such as weddings or baptisms, birthdays, anniversaries, new job acceptance or promotions as well as holidays or retirement parties. When a few folks decide to gather, the subject of food and beverages comes to people’s minds.

It’s important to view the meals as not just necessary for survival but as an integral part of our days and lives. Because of my work schedule I eat my breakfast alone each morning and lunch is consumed at my desk at work. However; the evening meal is one that Carol and I get to enjoy for the time together. Dinner isn’t an interruption of the day but an important part. We eat in the dining room, enjoy the candles, and talk to one another. No television, just conversation while dining.

Other times we choose to dine out in one of the wonderful eateries in our area. We really are blessed with a variety of options. From fast food places to pizza parlors, Oriental offerings, Mexican, Italian, BBQ, fish houses and a host of other venues.

Last Sunday, Carol and I enjoyed a high tea at Erna’s Elderberry House. It is a new option for them and Carol really wanted to enjoy that experience. It allowed us to have a couple of hours together without any of the work of the cooking. Interestingly; this Saturday I will be serving a high tea for the ladies of my church as I have been doing each December since 1982. A personal note to the Anglican Church ladies: Do not expect the quality of food at my house that I enjoyed at Erna’s.

My suggestion to the guys in this area is to make this holiday season a little brighter for their spouse and to treat them to an evening out. It doesn’t have to be a budget; it just needs to involve time together.

Conversely, we need to also celebrate dining together as friends and family at the kitchen or dining room tables. We hear horror stories of the oddball relative who wants to start a fight at the family gathering, but those are events that most of us don’t endure. I treasure the weekly meals our family shares on Sunday evenings. It’s a great time to get caught up on the events in each life and our nephew will not know a time when the family did not gather together. The meals are simple and easy ranging from BBQ to casseroles, maybe Italian, or a platter of salmon, but the key ingredient is the people

So be sure to enjoy the experience of dining together as a habit and not as an occasional event. I know there is work involved but the memories will be treasured as people leave our lives. I remember as a boy realizing that many times I was the youngest person at the table. Grandmothers, aunts and uncles, parents and an older brother. Now when I sit with the family I am the eldest and I reflect on the fact that those were some great meals with many stories and many laughs at that dining room table.

Eat socially!

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