We were lucky to grow up in families who valued shared meals, and it's a value we've tried to pass along to our children by example. We cooked with our children when they were young. We sat down to dinner together. Meals are a time for us to connect with family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers.
Think about how often we use food to communicate. Is someone sick? Bring over comfort food that's easy to eat. Did someone lose a family member? Bring over simple food that can be frozen and reheated. Are you celebrating a religious holiday? Your religion probably has traditions about what you'll eat. Business colleagues strengthening relationships? A restaurant dinner. The examples of people using food as a celebration or tool to connect us with each other are endless.
Getting to know a person by sharing a meal with them is as old as, well, humans. Every religion directs its followers to welcome and love the stranger (or sojourner or wayfarer). Secular movements like humanism also highly value connections with strangers. It should go without saying that many people who aren't part of a religion or don't follow a philosophy are great bridge builders.
Would you like to be part of a group that shares meals together? Take the initiative to put one together. The point is the experience, not the expense. Invite a group of friends to gather for a potluck. Do an internet search for community meals you can join. Look to local places of worship. Your community is out there. Go join it!
Here's a great recipe for your next meal:
Fried Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce.
- 95g (1/3 cup) Al Arz tahini
- 60ml (1/4 cup) water
- 60ml (1/4 cup) fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh continental parsley
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1.5L (6 cups) extra virgin olive oil
- 1.2kg (about 1 head) cauliflower, cut into medium florets
- Place the Al Arz tahini, water, lemon juice, parsley and garlic in a medium bowl and stir until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside until serving.
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until a bread cube dropped into the oil turns light golden after 15 seconds.
- Add half the cauliflower to the hot oil and fry, turning occasionally, for 5-8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain. Repeat with remaining cauliflower. Place the fried cauliflower on a serving plate and drizzle with the tahini sauce. Serve immediately.
Recipe and photo courtesy of G.I.T. Imports