The Influence of Food on Our Lives

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The influence food has on our lives is deeply ingrained, so deeply in fact, that our very existence depends on every aspect of food.  Think about this if you will.  The average person cannot survive more than a few days without some sort of meaningful nutrition.  We all understand & acknowledge this fact. Therefore having food readily available is always in our conscious & subconscious thoughts.

Throughout history we see evidence of the procurement of food forming the very structure of entire societies.  Cities were not built at the peaks of mountains, in the middle of desserts, or some sort of baron wasteland.  They were built near a constant supply of water, & where the land was fertile.   The Egyptians had yearly rituals in which they prayed to the gods for a good inundation.  This was the annual flood of the rivers which brought nutrient rich water & mud into their fields.  They understood that when the inundation was good, their crops produced more bounty.  This directly impacted their population’s growth & the stability of their empire.  The Romans constructed aqueducts in order to move water.  The water was not primarily for human consumption, but to irrigate crops in regions where the water supply was not constant or nonexistent.  Indeed wars have been won & lost over food, or the supply thereof.  How many war movies have you seen in which the generals are hammering out ideas to cut the enemies supply lines.  Those supply lines consisted of food among other things.  History has shown us time & time again about the importance of food in its evolution.

On a more personal scale, we live our lives knowing that food must be readily available in order for us to not only survive, but also to thrive.  We tend to think that we will have food at a special event such as a wedding, funeral, birth, etc. However, the reverse is true.  We are having the event because of the food.  In other words, the food is the main character in the event.  To illustrate the point, consider this.  Three hundred years ago or more, weddings were held in the spring & summer.  While there are other factors for this, such as weather, the primary reason was that food is more plentiful at those times of the year.  A group of people could be fed at these times.  Where I live, in South Louisiana, we would not dream of having any sort of social function without an abundance of food to serve.  I think that most places are like this.  The jobs we have & our want to succeed is not only to buy the things we want, but to ensure the things we need.  Food is primary on that list.  We pride ourselves on the quality of the food we can buy in order to feed our families & ourselves.  You only need to look at any catered event to this.  The price of the event is directly proportional to the quality of food served & its preparation.

We are successfully exploiting food in all of its forms & all of its sources.  The reason for this is that we celebrate food daily.  Why we do this is because unlike breathing, which we also need to survive, a great deal of effort must be expended for food.  Breathing is involuntary muscle repetition.  It is the rhythmic expansion & contraction of our chests.  In short, we don’t have to do much in order to breathe.  But to eat, well that’s a totally different situation altogether.  In order to eat we must cultivate, plant, water, raise, hunt, kill, clean, pick, harvest, prepare, & cook.  And then there is the physical act of eating which is must more complex than breathing.  The point is that the procurement of food is a victory of sorts because of the effort it requires to get it into our bodies.  Food elicits a visceral response.  All of your senses are effects when eating.  Even the thought of food evokes a physical reaction.  You don’t believe me?  How about this?

A cold winter’s day finds you struggling to the door of your warm home.  Amber yellow lights welcome you through frosty glass windows.  You crack the door open & there it is.  The smell of dinner (supper to some) is the first to greet you.  A quick walk to the kitchen finds a large silver pot sitting atop the stove.  A slow fire rolls its contents gently.  You stick your nose just to the corner of the steam.  A deep inhale, & AHHH!!!  Soup.  You look inside the pot to see small bite size cubes of lean beef.  The rich broth is also bathing thick ovals of fresh carrot, along with bright green peas, sage green lima beans, plump black eyed peas, bright yellow corn kernels, translucent strips of onion, & hearty chunks of potato.  The herbs & seasonings make your mouth water.  This is just what a cold body needs.

Now that makes me want some hot soup, & it’s July! And that’s just soup.  Don’t get me started describing a full meal.  I’ll have to install more memory in my computer.  But you get the point don’t you?  Food makes us react.

It is safe to say that food influences our lives by being ingrained in our lives.  It sustains life.  It taps directly into the pleasure center of our brains.  It makes us emotional.  It guides our decisions about how we live our lives.  To be honest, it is the fiber that makes the fabric of our lives.


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