Food is both essential to our health and well-being and also intrinsically part of our culture and daily life. Starting from a young age, many of our memories are made involving food such as baking with a grandparent, working in the vegetable garden with Dad or making cakes with Mum. When we celebrate, food is part of the celebration and when we feel down or something bad has happened, favourite foods can bring a moment of solace. Some of us love to cook or to go out for a meal while others are fascinated by the balance of different foods and what health benefits they can bring us.
History of food
The importance of food is not a new idea and is one of the central reasons for many of the major developments in mankind’s history. For instance, humans changing from the wandering, nomadic lifestyle to occupying a certain place because of food – they did it to tend crops and look after the animals. This in turn meant they had enough spare food to take to market and trade was born.
Trading in food or the ingredients used to make dishes also inspired many of the feats of exploration through history: spices were so important at one time, they were actually used as a currency. Exchanging food was a crucial part of welcoming guests from other parts of the world and was central to the exchange of cultures that took place.
Food and family
Sharing a family meal is still an important part of the daily routine and gathering around the dining room table to eat and discuss the day is still common, but also has many modern variations. Major annual events such as Christmas and Easter have a range of food-related traditions that are as central to the festival as the giving of presents, Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.
Passing down recipes and ‘secret’ dishes or sauces is another great family tradition, dating from the times when cookbooks were something that the nobility may have occasionally seen. Baking these would bring generations together and would pass from mother to daughter (or to son if they liked to cook!).
Food and health
Ask your grandmother and she will tell you that eating your greens is important, along with a host of other wisdom relating to food. But science has proven that most of these wives tales are actually true and that certain foods are very good for us. Therefore, understanding what our bodies need and what foods can provide these elements offer a health way of eating that produces a rounded result that can sometimes lack when a ‘named’ diet is used.
By understanding what is in the food we eat, not only can we eat healthier or smarter but we can help areas that our bodies naturally miss out on. For instance, during winter when sunlight levels are low we can eat certain foods that provide the same kinds of goodness we can get from sunlight in a different form and avoid that dark and dreary winter feeling.
There are so many reasons we love food and you should too! Whether it is because of family memories of shared meals or the satisfaction of a healthy eating plan that really worked, everyone can find enjoyment from food.