Eat with your Mind

Miss Ohlala explores the connection between food and feelings.

Food has an incredible capability to unite people. It also brings many benefits when shared; it builds trust among people as they are bonded with this invisible thread created by eating the same food. You can also reach decisions and consensus quicker, as you are more likely to respect each other when eating together. Why do you think many business meetings are done over lunches and dinners?

We also usually associate food with good memories (or bad ones). That childhood dish your grandma used to prepare can calm you down when things get rough, as it will spark the feeling of being loved. The taste, smell and texture of food get ingrained in our brains, and have the power to bring not only memories of the act of eating the food itself but also of places and settings. The neuroanthropologist, John S. Allen, wrote in his The Omnivorous Mind: Our Evolving Relationship with Food book that the human brain interacts with the food environment through a range of cognitive adaptations that combine to form the ‘Theory of Food’, which operates in the brain much like the capacity for language acquisition.

He also believes that food effectively triggers more profound memories of feelings and emotions, internal states of the mind and body. His theory also highlights the reward effect food has on our brains. For example, when we eat highly appealing food such as candy, the brain’s reward centre is activated, giving our internal systems the message that we did well. At the same time, the neurotransmitter dopamine converts this short-term memory into a long-term one. So, when you eat the same candy 50 years later, those memory centres light up with happy recollections.

What about creating unforgettable new memories with the Summer Recipes shared by the amazing chefs in this issue? It will be a memorable summer celebrated with yummy food!

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