Eating Together: Relationship Building

Isn’t there a saying that the family that eats together stays together? Maybe not, but it has the ring of truth. A couple days ago I thought and wrote about cooking, but eating is much more than cooking. (And, in fact, some of my cooking doesn’t get eaten at all…). Social eating builds relationships, sharing food is a gesture of good will and caring. We meet at restaurants, we make our dining rooms welcoming, we serve meals at wedding and funerals, we can’t even watch a sports event without bringing out the game food. Food just seems to hang around wherever we gather.

First the candle…

Even my daughter who experiences misophonia, manages to value our times around the table, many of which take place in restaurants. We were being treated to a birthday brunch one year in a cute Mexican place in Seattle. I remember that meal because of the sauce that exploded all over Esther, after she blew out her celebratory birthday candle.

Then the memorable hot sauce splash. But we laughed as we cleaned up.

Other times our long walks would end up over coffee and cupcakes in a cute cafe. Over the years both daughters have also cemented their relationship with their Grandma over coffee and donuts, a tradition I don’t think will be changing anytime soon.

These two have bonded.

The challenge in this is making sure the relationship we are building is with people, not with the food we are eating. How do we do that?

In these days of toxic relationships with food like anorexia, bulemia, and fad diets, I’ve had to give my relationship with food some thought. I do use food to counter stress, to reward myself and to relieve boredom- yeah, it does all that quite well, but it’s not always the healthiest way to do those thing. Studying the psychology of eating this year through Noom (which I have blogged about numerous times) has been helpful to me. At least I am now aware of the difference between my relationship with food and my relationship with people through shared eating.

It can get complicated.

Yesterday I was tempted to take a picture of a beautiful, grilled chicken salad as it was set in front of me. I confess I have pictures, lots of them, of plates of food to illustrate a good keto meal, or a recipe that turned out great. But this time I thought, no. I’m going to enjoy sitting with my daughter, son-in-law and husband, in a gorgeous outdoor setting, while someone serves us good food as we talk, laugh and build relationship. Just sayin’…

You might even say that “waiting to eat” provides good opportunity for building relationships. I’ve done so much of that.

Eat Here


In Phnom Penh I stay near the Russian Market and there are a couple of walk to places that are my “comfort” stops. On the list this time was Alma Cafe, a truly Mexican cuisine where you would not

be expecting to find it. There are two specials for lunch every day,  and they change daily and are also open for breakfast. Tuesday is their day to be closed. I loved everything I ate there.  Get some fresh squeezed limeade to drink. There are things there for gluten free and you can order an awesome veggie breakfast burrito.