A gift of food—be it a bowl of strawberries from a neighbor’s garden or a hot, comforting meal at a friend’s home—is a gesture of welcome and friendship.
In her luscious book, A Natural History of the Senses, Diane Ackerman observes that the sense of taste, and by extension, food, is both intimate and highly social. And it’s been true throughout history, in all cultures. She speaks of the Bantu in Africa, who feel that “exchanging food makes a contract between two people, who then have a ‘clanship of porridge.’ We usually eat with our families, so it’s easy to see how ‘breaking bread’ together would symbolically link an outsider to a family group. Throughout the world, the strategems of business take place over meals; weddings end with a feast; friends reunite at celebratory dinners; children herald their birthdays with ice cream and cake … If an event is meant to matter emotionally, symbolically or mystically, food will be close at hand to sanctify and bind it.”
Whether we’re conscious of it or not, food is a gift. It is pleasure and comfort, ceremony and celebration—even healing. In myriad ways, it connects us intimately to each other. “Our friend first offers us food, drink,” Ackerman adds. “It is a symbolic act, a gesture that says, ‘This food will nourish your body as I will nourish your soul.'”
In this spirit, we offer OdwallaSpeak, for a look at who we are and a taste of what nourishment means to us. Enjoy.
Archive: Published in Odwalla’s quarterly customer newsletter, OdwallaSpeak.