Kitchen Confidential – Food Nation

written by Samantha Mwedekeli 5th October 2017

Who doesn’t love eating good food, laughter and time spent with family and friends? Samantha Mwedekeli gives us reasons why we should always look forward to moments where food brings us together.

Food, has the power to connect us with friends and with family. We use it to date and to celebrate. It removes the distance between us unlike anything else.

Throwback to August, election time. In a country somewhat divided by politics, we were brought together by food, in the form of the (peculiar to most) notion of Githeri in a bag. The strangeness created intrigue, commentary and many a meme from all sectors of society, showing us how food can be a powerful uniting force.

Food summons us to step into new cultures: a looking glass into other worlds,  inviting others into a conversation, a ‘show and tell’ about our differences that brings people together. An exercise of tolerance and diversity. To understand what and how people eat is to understand more about their culture and tells an exciting story. Everybody loves a good story.

Fulfilling a basic human need together creates an occasion, a reason for you to connect. Whenever I call my friend to hang out we inevitably go to eat. Individually we are foodies and together we discover mind-blowing food experiences. That’s our thing. With mouthfuls of the spiciest and richest food on the menu (in her case) and textured, balanced flavours (in my case), we open up about our lives. On reflection, I have noticed a pattern: first we talk about our stresses or an issue getting on our last nerve and share perspectives. By the time we bite into our first morsel, we are more than ready to give our brutally honest, one word food reviews. Next, we share the goals we have reached and give supportive words of praise and encouragement. Now, as we move on to the juicy stuff—the creme brulee and Sauvignon if you will— we discuss what our love lives are saying (which is usually nothing but we don’t lose hope). Finally we sum it all up by going over what we are currently binge watching and most recently, discussing how our lives have all but stopped since the airing of the last episode of Game of Thrones.

Sharing a meal bids us to slow down and make memories with the people around us.  My family gatherings have always revolved around food, cooking, drinks and lively conversation. Some of my most cherished moments with family were spent in the dining room or kitchen – sharing fun times whilst enjoying delicious food.  

What we eat has the power to connect generations. From a young age, I had a passion for food, although admittedly mostly for eating it. I credit my grandmother for passing on her love of food and treasured recipes down to me, and through Mama Rocks, enabling me to share her influence on me with the world. This enduring legacy will leave its imprint for many years to come, far beyond the sphere of influence that my grandmother initially envisaged for us. Food is one of the greatest joys we can experience as humans so I am in my element doing what I do – Enjoying cooking joyful food for people who are drawn together by their common love of it.

In conclusion, this quote comes to mind: ‘Food is not rational. Food is culture, habit, craving and identity’. Jonathan Safran Foer

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