Is food really just about eating?
Throughout my life, my relationship with food has fluctuated between love, boredom and all that is in between. For me food means so many things. It is what fuels my body, what gives me energy, it is what nourishes the vessel that is my body, it is the memories it evokes and the fragrance that reminds me of past times and experiences with friends and loved ones.
Of course food is here to nurture and fuel our bodies. It is an incredible source of joy and wonder. To have the fortune to try new foods and to explore cultures through their cuisine is a gift. In all of my travels a big privilege has been to be able to marvel in the food of the different countries I have visited and lived in. For me it opens a window into another world and helps me understand a little more about my fellow humans.
So while food can feel like a daily chore and activity it is so much more than that. It was one of my motivators in creating Wattle. I always wanted to create a space where people could come in, enjoy their food in the company of others, share their experiences and create new memories. Personally when I eat certain foods today, I can be jolted by the memory it triggers of former travels or experiences I have enjoyed.
In many parts of the world, food is a shared experience, an opportunity to sit down and reconnect with each other. A chance to share the experiences of your day. While food is the reason for the experience, it is less about the calories and more about the ability to share the process of eating with people you care about enough to share this precious time.
Over the years I have been asked why I don't have televisions in the cafes. My response is always that I take pleasure in creating an environment in which people can interact. That ranges from coming in as a group or couple or simply having a chat with our barista's while dining in. The cafe's are designed as a place where our tribe or community can come together over some food or coffee but more so as a chance to sit down and reset. Of course people come in to catch up on whatever is going on in their phones but more so we have found that many do enjoy the opportunity to be present.
It gives me much joy to have created a place where we can facilitate an opportunity for someone to be present even if only for a few minutes. I just hope that we continue to do this more often throughout our weeks to remind ourselves of the now and pause to remind ourselves of what ever small joys we can find in our day.