by Melinda Smith
Who I eat with and who I segregate meal times are quite different than my usual routine. In Italy, I am creating space for mealtime. Time to eat, drink, and be merry. I have indulged in the three-times daily delight in growing relationships with people and enjoying the taste of food. Starting the day over a ceramic filled with cappuccino, and ending the day sharing house vino, has been a way to sip in the day. At home, the majority of the time I tend to imbed my mealtime into another activity such as driving and drinking coffee in a to-go cup, working at my desk while eating my lunch, or standing at my refrigerator eating dinner, while I mentally plan my house chores. Most of my meals at home are spent alone. I would say this shows a difference in the individual versus collectivist cultures. At home, my meal times are not savored, but instead they are second-class to achieving some sort of built in societal goal in an effort to get ahead. Food is viewed as sustenance in order to achieve a goal in regards to work, working out or school. Upon returning home, I do not want my goals to be different, but I intend to host more meaningful mealtime gatherings. Celebrate the food that has brought friends together.