Photo by Sylwester Ficek

While you can enjoy these family recipes from the Degner family, it’s important to remember that the secret ingredient with good food is having family and friends to eat them with.

Food is a fundamental part of the human experience, and that’s an understatement. When we are engaging with food, we are not only sustaining ourselves (being living creatures), but we are also immersing ourselves in culture, tradition, and social connection.

While we fret over how to make bonds with people, sharing a meal with them is often the most potent way. Isn’t that how we mostly bond with family and friends? 

Eating with other people is an opportunity to create lasting memories. Certainly, it’s quite simple, but it is also the most profound. When we are sharing a meal with family and friends, we are connecting with each other, sharing stories with one another, and, in turn, deepening connections. Eating together is a powerful foundation for fostering a sense of community and belonging with other people.

The Secret Ingredient to Good Food

When you eat food with family and friends, you nourish not only your body but also your soul and fill up your spirit. Case in point: breaking bread. This is one of the most universal tokens of friendship and love. When we break bread and share the pieces amongst each other, we are gesturing to peace and inviting others to respond in kind. 

And while eating a piece of cake alone is wonderful, it is much better to do it with others. Why is this so? Why does food taste better when we are sharing it with others?

In this article, let us explore the many reasons why food is enhanced with the presence of family and friends.

Scientific Factors

According to scientific research, eating with others can literally enhance the taste of the food being eaten. This is because when we find ourselves in a positive social environment, the brain releases dopamine, a chemical compound that greatly affects our pleasure and reward senses. Dopamine also has the added benefit of enhancing or intensifying your senses, such as your taste perception, making food taste more flavorful.

Being in company with family and friends can also help rein in our metabolism, regulating our appetite hormones. Thus, when we are with others, we tend to eat more slowly while also savoring our food more. This helps us to feel fuller and more satisfied. 

Psychological Factors

There are also several psychological reasons why food just tastes when we are in the presence of other people. One such consideration is that we associate food with positivity. Thus, when we are eating with people, we are actually reminding ourselves of happy memories and good times–this is especially the case if you also have prior memorable experiences with the people you are with. 

Another thing is that when we are with others, we are more engaged with the experience. We are more likely to talk about the food, share our thoughts, and, especially in home settings, appreciate the food more. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that even simple meals become more enjoyable and memorable.

The Benefits of Eating with Family and Friends

As we have discussed, food tastes better when we share it with others. This is due to several scientific and psychological factors, and while eating with family and friends does wonders for the gourmet in us, there are other non-culinary benefits to sharing meals:

  • Sharing meals with others helps reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, leading to improved mental health. It also boosts our mood and self-esteem.
  • Eating together helps strengthen our relationships with friends and family, creating a sense of connection and belonging.
  • Sharing meals is a great way to pass down cultural traditions and values from one generation to the next, thereby preserving specific family customs or broader ethnic ones.

Food is a simple but powerful way of bringing people together. So, if you’re looking for a meal of a lifetime with family and friends, check out these family recipes from the Degner family

When we are sharing a meal with family and friends, we are sharing an experience that soothes the soul. So the next time you can eat with others, take a moment to savor the food and the company. You might find your meal even more delicious than you thought possible.

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