"If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him…the people who give you their food give you their heart." -Cesar Chavez
So what’s up with the Sunday night dinners anyway?
We are a tribal species, and we’ve lived in tribes for the vast majority of our time here on earth–even before we were fully human. Our brains developed to understand people, facial expressions, and group dynamics. Our very survival relied on community–some would gather fruits and nuts and others hunt for meat. We hunted and gathered in small groups, and when we feasted, we did so together. Our communities have always revolved around food. In every culture on earth, one will find rich traditions centered around it. Weddings, graduations, bar mitzvahs, the Superbowl—they all have a culinary component.
Our communities today have grown to metropolitan behemoths. Millions upon millions now make up our “tribes,” yet we are left more isolated than at any time in history. Our population centers are denser than ever, yet millions eat fast food alone every day. Our food reflects our isolated contemporary lives: the microwave dinner. It is the manifestation of our culinary isolation. It is a complete single-serving meal that deprives us of all sharing, meant to be eaten alone at home, in front of a TV, without conversation or engagement. It does not require a shared experience, and there’s definitely no need to discuss its merits of flavor or texture.
So here at the Sunday Dinner Club, we decided to reclaim one of the oldest, most established traditions in our history. We decided to keep the community alive, keep our wineglasses full, our kitchen windows steamy, and dining room tables filled with great food and smiling faces. In doing so, we become closer with ourselves, each other, and the food that we can’t live without.
OK, so it’s all that and two other important points.