FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD
COMING TOGETHER AROUND A TABLE TO SHARE A MEAL IS SOMETHING A LOT OF US MAY HAVE LOST IN 21ST CENTURY LIFE. HERE’S HOW TO BRING IT BACK
It’s the Noosa Food and Wine Festival next week and I’ll be there with bells on. The festival will play host to more than 200 chefs, producers, winemakers and journalists with a passion for gourmet food and wine.
We will be able to taste unique ingredients, watch demonstrations by leading chefs, take part in beach barbecues and the festival’s annual beach party. Bring it on, let’s UTF – Unite Through Food.
It got me thinking. Food is one of the wonderful necessities of life. We eat throughout our marriage and relationships and, well, every part of our lives.
Does Australian culture use this shared experience to strengthen our relationships, say, like the Italians?
You may well have done the exciting and romantic dates in the early days at your favourite restaurants or on the beach as you gazed hopefully and lovingly into each other’s eyes.
But what about the everyday upkeep of our relationships?
Some of the best conversations you’ll have will be over a meal.
It’s universally acknowledged as a great time to discuss a variety of topics – even difficult ones.
Don’t underestimate the psychological and
emotional benefits: namely social connection, intellectual stimulation, relaxation and romance.
Here are my top tips for curating culinary cohesion for couples:
1. Give up multi-tasking: Hands up who eats in front of the TV or accompanied by a screen? Thought so.
The trap of living under an unnecessary sense of urgency to be entertained, work and, of course, be ever present on social media can put you in chronic toxic stress and make you sick, including terrible indigestion.
Turn off the screens and allow meals to be the perfect time to talk about your highs and lows. It will also help you slow down and eat less. 2. Invest the time in home cooking: Savour the satisfaction of creating a dish and likewise having your partner prepare something for you is something you can put loving care and effort into (hello, husband, I hope you’re reading). Sure, it’s still a meal, but when it’s made with love, it’s super-special and tastes oh-so-much better. It’s like a tiny, tasty gift at the end of a long day. 3. Can’t cook? Try learning: This is the perfect joint activity. There are awesome options to do this together here on the Sunshine Coast. Putting in the effort to improve yourself for the sake of your relationship shows a great deal of love and dedication. 4. Create the mood: Arty and bright or warm and dark tonight? Use those funky little string lights, draw something, use aromatic candles and swoon to the music.
Want to feel sophisticated? Throw on some classical. Tweak the atmosphere in your house and bang- date night is on. 5. Relax and enjoy yourselves: Just because you switched off technology doesn’t mean you need to be super-formal. Sit back, relax and chill. Why not kick back on the floor while eating for a change? If there are little munchkins in the house, they’ll love a snackable spread on a blanket. Plenty of other cultures do it.
6. Make it habitual: It’s all wonderful to now decide to eat together more often. So, why not hand-write a specific goal such as: “Eat together as a family at the table three times per week”.
Paste this up on the fridge for all to see and practise, practise, practise.
Keep each other accountable and after 30 days, it’ll be the start of the norm of uniting through food for you.
See you on Noosa beach next weekend. I’ll be the one with the empty plate.
Tune in to Salt106.5 each Friday for my fun chat with Kristian on the breakfast show. Joanne is a neuropsychotherapist and relationship specialist. Follow Jo on Facebook at Theconfidantecounselling and on Instagram @the.confidante