I came across two ideas recently that have me thinking about the connection between food and friendship. I found it very interesting that traced back to its Latin root, the word “friend” means the person with whom you share your bread. Think about it. How often does socialization revolve around food? We meet for coffee or lunch or dinner in a restaurant. We pack picnics and have cookouts. We bring casseroles and cakes to celebrate a birth or mourn a death. We greet a new neighbor with dish in hand.
In Michael Pollan’s book, Cooked, he suggests that it might be time to reinstate the idea of the dinner party. I like that idea. It seems closer to the concept of a friend being someone with whom you share your bread. A meal that you bring to the table, no matter how simple, is special.
And then it’s the idea of the table itself. A space where people gather. The food on that table sustains the body and (hopefully!) often delights the palate, but it’s the ideas expressed, the connections made, the confidences shared that make the table so central to our lives.
Adam Gopnik took the title of his bestseller, The Table Comes First, from Fergus Henderson, a British chef, who said: “I don’t understand how a young couple can begin life by buying a sofa or a television. Don’t they know that the table comes first?”
Who knew that that simple wooden table could mean so much?