Your Food is your Mood

27 Oct

Being part of a large family, I definitely felt a sense of tradition, camaraderie and family bonding during special occasions, and none were more special than Christmas Eve. Since my mother belonged to a large family of nine, there were a bunch of families in our little “clan” each with their own traditions, all originating from the early traditions my grandmother had set. These are of a few of my most memorable experiences.

Memories are something that each person has, as we learned from our psychology class, Memory refers to the processes that are used to acquire, store, retain and later retrieve information. As we know, There are three major processes involved in memory: encoding, storage and retrieval. Memories from the past can bring certain emotions back to us that make us feel either happy or sad and can bring forth almost any emotion thinkable.

As a child, I remember being excited, all in anticipation for our Christmas Eve celebration. For as long as I can remember, my mother and the hired help would work throughout the whole afternoon of December 24th, cooking, roasting, and running over to the nearest grocery store in search of a missing ingredient, the beads of sweat trickling down their forehead, clearly showing their exhaustion. I never heard a single complaint as I knew that Christmas Eve was a very special occasion for us. When it all ended, my mother would come out of the kitchen, dress up, and come down looking as if she hadn’t been cooking all day.  When I grew older, more of the same traditions remained, however, as I showed my interest in the culinary field, I became on of the people responsible for preparing the food. Mashing the garlic, making meatballs, and tasting the final product were always a fun thing to do as a child. Our feasts were always too much for us to even consume. There were pastas, cheeses, meats, fruits and ham. There was always ham. Never have I had a Christmas Eve dinner where we didn’t have ham. I along with my siblings, parents and close family friends would enjoy the whole night eating till the wee hours of the morning, telling stories, and holding a karaoke session all before opening our Christmas presents.

As I said, memories from happy times have a way of inviting heartwarming feelings and make you look to the past for good times and to look forward to the future in order to get excited at what’s to come. On another note, food has a very important role in our everyday lives. While some consider food as nourishment and sustenance to keep alive, food also plays an important part in helping invoke memories. While most of us realize the food we eat has a direct correlation to our physical health, many don’t consider the connection between food and our emotional state. Often we hear the phrase, “you are what you eat” but it may be just as accurate to say, “your food is your mood” as research over the years has shown what we eat can affect our mood, both positively and negatively. I remember a scene in Pixar’s Ratatouille, where it was extremely difficult to please the extremely critical critic  excuse the redundancy Anton Ego, but after they served him ratatouille, what most consider as a peasant’s dish and not worthy of a high class restaurant, the chef in the movie received much praise because the critic was taken back to his childhood when his mother would serve him a big bowl of it to make him feel better. That is why most people have foods listed as their “comfort food” I personally love red spaghetti with little circle hotdogs and brunoised carrots and while considered weird to some, I enjoy eating it with my hands. I dunno, I guess because when I was a child that was one of the things I enjoyed eating the most and since I didn’t know how to use a fork back then, i had to resort to using my hands. So, when you’re feeling sad and depressed, find some friends or family and grab a bite of whatever makes you feel happy, it may be a big bowl of chocolate ice cream or a hot steaming plate of haggis. Hey, I don’t judge, as long as it makes YOU happy.

Buddies, Beer & Bacon. The three most important things in life, XOXO.

(c)Ezra Sumbillo

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