Food is basic to human existence. Across the entire period that humans have lived on this planet, food has been central to our social being. The production, exchange, consumption and narrating of the meaning of food has been, and continues to be, fundamental to every family, community, ethnic grouping, religion, nation and civilisation. Food nourishes us – body and soul. It gives us energy – material and social. Eating together is a focus of personal conviviality. It is one of the founding conditions of social engagement and social symbolism. In an inchoate or undefined way, we still feel ourselves to be what we eat, and we identify with those people with whom we eat.
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