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Food: A universal friend

In my perspective, food is not just about quenching hunger pangs or the act of barely consuming crop and animal products. It spreads across other aspects of food that defines us as human beings rather than just viewing food as a means of survival.

The melody that food transmits to me represents culture, traditions and above all love. No matter what part of this globe you come from, you are bound to have a totally unique experience into the culture of another country through food. A case in point is the growing popularity of the Nigerian jollof rice.

One of the fond memories we cherish so much are family meals, and the cohesion it brought among loved ones. Food conveys symbolic value during life events such as marriage festivities, recreational hangouts, societal occasions and family celebrations.

A basic necessity that permeates our affective and psychomotor systems is what we consume. We are assertive with the kinds of food we choose to eat since this reflects our personal identity, cultural orientation and respect for religious or health considerations.

The standard of food that children receive is determined by what their parents or caregivers offer them. Adults are more responsible for their food preferences since they determine what they eat and share to family members, friends or even strangers. Quality food is one of the essentials of human life aside regular exercise, sound sleep and peace of mind. Good food improves intelligence, boosts our immunity, supply with us strength and nourish our bodies.

For most cultures, however, compassion is felt when you distribute a hot plate of food to the needy. It reminds us to always remember the less fortunate and not take our blessings for granted. So always make sure you do not hastily waste food. If you have leftovers, re-create another dish out of it. Be playful, but be respectful in utilizing food.

Comfort is what food brings on a gloomy cold day and the only thing that could lift up your damp spirits might be a hearty bowl of vegetable soup or a cup of hot chocolate whilst you are wrapped under a warm blanket. Food also comforts you when you are angry at the world and suddenly find yourself embracing a bowl of yoghurt before plunging into meditation.

The language that food communicates transcends race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age and class. Food calls people into a sense of community. We create traditions using food. We celebrate events and holidays through food. We socialize around food. We express love through food. We show compassion through food. Food is a gender equalizer since everyone can cook and we all eat. We comfort each other and ourselves with food. The natural joy of mothers is felt when they see their children and husbands eat.

The unique trait of food preparation is that it does not need to be complicated. It does not have to cost a lot of money and doesn’t have to be a complex process. Making meals does not have to require rare ingredients. Cooking is an offering of one’s self, it reflects one’s culture, and deepens one’s experience of life with another.

Food making is a humbling act. While watching one of the series of cooking shows on TV we are exposed to these expensive kitchens with exotic utensils and a diversity of tools at one’s disposal, although none of this is absolutely necessary when preparing a good meal. Great food is prepared around the world in the most simplistic of kitchens. People around the world have created ways since the beginning of time to mix food, chop it, infuse flavour and spices into it, and cooking them to perfection before savouring the meal.

If you ate yesterday, appreciate the farmer. If you ate today, appreciate the farmer. Farmers are the future of mankind. Farmers are our sustainability heroes. Try out new delicacies and expand your enriching cuisine.

Photo credit: Nigerian Food Recipes