“Dentists call to end workplace cake culture”
The BBC were reporting about dentists who have been criticising ‘workplace cake culture’, saying that the sharing of sweet treats in the office is contributing to health problems. The article goes on to cite “The Faculty of Dental Surgery said eating cake and biscuits at work was fuelling obesity and poor oral health”.
I’ve no doubt that the underlying facts are true, that treats and cakes should be consumed in moderation and mindfully i.e. if you’re stuffing a chocolate muffin in your mouth in one go be aware of it, after all we’ve all mindlessly eaten a quantity of something only to ‘come to’ at some point and regret it. Don’t judge me and I won’t judge you. However with a birthday coming up, if this gives you any ideas, go with them…..
Whilst the article was focusing on the importance of eating well and healthily by trying to understand where the pinch points are for gluttony, it misses the point that sharing food and being in the company of others is actually healthy in itself. Granted, many of us have just come out of the #mealfest that is Christmas and New Year where fridges initially bursting with ingredients to make delicious meals to share then turn themselves into ingredients that are termed ‘leftovers’ and must be mixed with other obtuse leftovers to create some tasty concoction that is only ever consumed during Twixtmas (the time period between Christmas and New Year). Who knew that a slice of gammon was the perfect accompaniment to a mince pie?
So back to the article; no doubt many offices currently have the leftover tin near the kettle. Leftover cake, biscuits and in some extreme but rare cases, chocolate, for co-workers and colleagues to nibble on as they wait for the boil. People bring in what they don’t want temptingly hanging about at home with a view to sharing the calories but also the goodwill, creating community Christmas cake and mince pie taste collaborators. Conversations take place over out of date biscuits and in the most middle class of offices, stilton and olives. The sharing of food is a deeply rooted gesture, creating connection and charitably ensuring that others have nourishment.
Eating together positively affects loneliness; a strong thread particularly over the festive season. We all hate to think of someone on their own at this emotive time of year and many advertisers use this to their advantage. This advert by German supermarket Edeka demonstrates this beautifully. Of course it’s covert advertising, of course they want you to be so moved that you rush to their supermarket to buy the items to make sure this doesn’t happen to you. We get that. We also need to get the message contained within this brief clip.
Other supermarkets are available.
In Denmark an initiative to bring strangers together around a meal table with the specific focus of enabling new friendships is underway. Information is circulated to people who host events and to people who’d like to attend including a map to find the nearest place with “a boiling pot” in their locality. As with all countries, isolation is a growing problem and the ill effects of loneliness caused by this is growing too.
“Sharing a meal is an opportunity to socialize with others, to strengthen existing communities and develop new ones,” reads the manifesto of the initiative.
In Japan people use Skype and apps to link themselves to others when they are eating just so that this most primeval of actions does not happen on your own. Can you imagine Skyping with a stranger as you eat your meal? For many it’s the human contact which is the nourishing component.
Many of you will have seen a heart-breaking image in the news last year where a gentleman regularly eats his meal on his own in a local restaurant with a photo of his deceased wife on the table. They were married for 55 years and at this point he had been alone for 5 years. He was quoted as commenting ‘I was a very rich man. Not with money, but with love’.
I’ll pause whilst you digest the sadness of this.
He took her picture with him to eat.
Eating well and healthily is a must for us all. If you have had or have cancer it’s a must. What goes in helps (but is not solely responsible for) fuelling imbalances, affects immune systems, collaborates with drug regimes, increases or decreases side effects, enables or stunts repair and so on. The list and the evidence is endless. But eating well also means with awareness and with company, in a context that delivers holistic nourishment not just calories.
So whilst many New Year’s resolutions have already come and just as easily gone, why not resolve in 2017 to invite a stranger to share a meal with you or to break bread with a friend you’ve not seen for a while and notice how that company is enhanced by the sharing of food. Leftovers, superfoods or simply a bowl of (wholewheat) pasta.
lad os spise.
ਦਿਉ ਦੀ ਖਾਣ ਦੀ
Enjoy your meal.