I am a firm believer in the power of food. It is an almost elemental force that reaches deep into us and has the power to change our lives. Other ideals, kindness, love, world peace, and repairing the world, are intricately related to the power of food and can be addressed through the use of the power of food.
Food has the power to build or destroy and recognizing this and using its powers for good would change the world. The absence of food is all consuming. Civil society can collapse during shortages of food as hunger consumes all those around it. Our baser natures may emerge when we lack basic nourishment and we may revert to more animal behaviors to meet our needs.
Conversely, as I learned personally during Super Storm Sandy, food has the power to improve communities. As we huddled together with two other families during the storm and its aftermath, food drew us together and created community where it had not existed before. Shared meal preparation built lasting bonds.
The simple gesture of sharing food with others creates moments of kindness that can spread. Within a Jewish lens, food has the power to force us recognize our place in the world and our relationship with the Infinite. Many of us prepare meals for others as an act of culinary-based love.
On a grander scale, food has the power to change the geopolitical landscape. Scarcity of resources cause political instability and can topple governments. As I learned from shifting from working in a poor, urban area where the next meal for a child was not guaranteed to the more affluent suburbs, I have learned that food has the power to free you from worries and stress. Magnify this across an entire community and the presence of food can change the course of history. Simply supplying everyone with enough food could limit the amount of conflict in the world.
Perhaps, though, the power of food is best summed up by the impact that a home cooked meal has on your family or your guests. It brings people together for a shared experience while demonstrating the care and affection of the chef. Simply put, food can create love, peace, kindness, and create a better world.