Every now and again, I get the pleasure, of getting behind the line to serve students lunch. It is a pleasure, because being in the position of offering something wonderful – in this case, delicious looking, smelling and tasting food, is so instantly gratifying. And as is usually the case when in the position of giving or serving others, something is always gained from the experience.
When offering the students a side of broccoli and some tomato soup, the first response I got was a question:”Who are you?” I have spent quite a bit of time behind the scenes at this school, so I am a new face to many of the students. Although they were perfectly nice to me and cheerfully took the food I offered, it was a good reminder to me that students – children, people of all kinds, are more apt to try new things (if presented with an opportunity to try new things) when the person or situation presented is one in which they feel trust.
On my way home after lunch, in public transit, a man asked the passengers on the train for money. I had some left over (not touched) food in a quart container with me, and asked him if he was hungry. I told him what I had (some shepherd’s pie) and he asked me if I had eaten from it. A very fair question! I told him that I hadn’t, but that I would. He accepted my offering and went on his way.
Eating, is much more than just about the food on a plate. The context, where it came from, who prepared it and who serves it – all of this impacts the experience of eating, and in turn, impacts the health of the eaters. So can the noise level, the lighting, the amount of time given..
Being behind the line, or across the dinner table – there is satisfaction in having the opportunity to create a safe, fun and sustainable context for all of us to enjoy good food.