Yesterday, I went to a communion breakfast for the St. Vincent de Paul Society. A communion breakfast, for those who don't know, is when a group attends Mass together (the communion part) then has a meeting (including breakfast), which typically, as ours did yesterday, includes a speaker or other opportunity to reflect on the bonds that make for solidarity in the group. As one of our primary efforts in the Society is to provide food for people in need, that also is a constant prompt to reflect on food and its place in our lives.
A new prompt was my daughter's visit last week. Molly ended up visiting an extra day because a big snowstorm made travel back to NYC inadvisable. Molly was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease, and so we had to rethink how we prepared meals at home, and how our kitchen is set up. (For the record, we didn't fail completely, but we didn't do as well as we could have; we'll have to work on that for the future!) Cooking for someone with Celiac is a bit more demanding than cooking for some other special diets, vegetarians, for example (which we routinely do).
The food we buy and the food we grow are ingredients for a social activity: dining. I know that many people eat alone, but we have always tried to make dining, that is, eating in the company of others, part of our family life. And except for our four years in Delaware, where we lived in a row house, we've always tried to raise a decent portion of our summer food via gardening.
So, I was pleased and intrigued about the article below, which I found thanks to a link on the blog Acculturated, about a Greek island where a much larger than usual pecentage of the residents live into a healthy old age. The reasons for this are discussed briefly, but it is noted that diet alone isn't enough; the way eating is done, the way life is conducted, has as much to do with the way life turns out as anything.
Healthy, Happy, and 100 Years Old
by Ann Lokuta on March 8, 2013
Picture yourself hiking to your neighbor’s house, where you’ll meet to have lunch: a spread of homegrown olives, freshly made hummus, and a thick loaf of warm bread – all slathered in just pressed olive oil. You arrive at who knows what time (because nobody watches the clock here), bearing homemade wine and honey from your own bees out back. After hours of conversation over delicious food and warming wine, you’ll hike back home for a midday nap before you tend to the garden to pick wild greens for tonight’s main dinner dish. Oh and one more thing, this otherwise normal, sun-soaked day happens to be the start of your 100th year...
Read the rest at Mind the Science Gap.