We’ve all heard that you are what you eat. Now we learn that you may be what others eat.
A University of Chicago study found that people are more inclined to trust one another and more likely to come to agreement when eating the same kind of food. Although researchers can’t explain why, a series of experiments demonstrates a dramatic increase in cooperation and collegiality when people are talking not just over lunch, but over the same lunch.
Experts have been telling us for years that children flourish in proportion to the frequency of family dinners. The more time parents and children spend together at the table, the more likely children are to succeed in school, to develop positive self-image, and to enjoy better physical and emotional health.
The natural assumption has been that family interaction increases children’s feelings of love and security, which leads to a deeper appreciation of family values. That’s almost certainly true.
But there may be an additional factor. At most family dinners, whatever is on the menu is what everyone eats. And that, apparently, makes a big difference.