Food as Social Lubricant

Each Wednesday, I take my daughter to the local playgroup here at Mt Nebo. As the contact person for the playgroup, I open up the room each week and get generally involved. This particular playgroup, more than others I’ve attended, is a fun, friendly, happy place. Partly that’s because we’re all from Mt Nebo, a great part of the world, and we have a community feel up here that I haven’t experienced living in the suburbs or in apartments. That apart, there may be something else at work.

As we chatted a couple of weeks ago, the topic of food as a group bonding tool was raised. Apparently, a group of people who eat together can feel happier. Reportedly, eating with others raises your serotonin levels. I don’t have a reference, so I can’t verify this. It could just be hearsay.

Regardless, our playgroup, unlike many other playgroups, asks everyone to bring a plate of food each week. Some people cook something sweet most weeks, others bring fruit, others bring vegie sticks with dips, others bring something from the supermarket. It varies, but it’s not junk food.

So, each week we have quite a bit of food. It means we get to eat a variety of foods, periodically visiting the food table and talking to different people. Mixing, inside and outside. We (and our kids) also get to experience different kinds of foods than we would make ourselves and we usually don’t need lunch afterwards. It’s something to look forward to, it doesn’t take long to prepare and it makes a big difference.

So, if your playgroup or social gathering is falling a little flat: ask everyone to bring a plate. Food: the social lubricant you can enjoy without getting drunk.

(Oh, if you live in or near Mt Nebo, come to our playgroup! Mt Nebo Village Hall, the corner of View St and Mt Nebo Rd, Wednesday, 10-12, $3, bring a plate. Mum and dad-friendly.)