The social life of food is not just about when we eat food, where the food is from or who we eat it with – part of experiencing food is also the ritual of eating food. This can be traditional, like the ritual of praying before dinner. It can also be a ritual introduced by pop culture, like dunking your Oreo’s in milk. In Indonesia it is custom to serve spekkoek (a traditional cake made of many very thin layers) in very small slices and to eat it with small bites. This ritual is a sign of respect for the maker of the spekkoek – the baker has taken lots of effort to make the spekkoek, so it should not be scarfed down.
Maintaining rituals surrounding food also have a (perhaps) unexpected effect – according to Psychological Science, people who had special rituals for their food consumption actually enjoyed their food more. By adding small rituals to the process of eating, the mind is focussed on eating and small details are noticed, and enjoyed, more.
What is your favourite food ritual?
image from here