The most important aspect of food in my regard is the experience that it provides: taste, smell, and the opportunity to socialize and share an evening with friends or family. I find that my attitude towards food differs from many people. Even though I live in the United States, I grew up with my grandparents, who emigrated from Russia in the 1990’s. This gives me what I think of as a more European culture than most Americans: music, food, and just the general way that I act and think. I tend to notice that many people in the U.S. simply inhale their food without knowing, thinking, or caring what is in it and what it is made of. They do not eat, they simply consume. When I am chewing, I like to appreciate and taste the things I eat. I try not only to consume, but to experience. On the two trips to Europe that I have taken during the course of my life, I noticed (more so in Austria than in England, which is more Americanized) that the atmosphere is much more relaxed, especially during meals. People there like to enjoy their time and place a large value on being able to have a relaxed lunch at a café or restaurant. This is quite a sharp contrast to the United States, where lunch often consists of going through the drive-through of McDonald’s and then devouring a chemical and preservative-filled cheeseburger without thinking or caring what it was.
I guess that the best single word to describe my “food philosophy” is culture. Some of my fondest memories are from New Year’s Eve dinners with family during a snowy night or a summer-evening supper outside in the yard with a bonfire. Food may be losing its cultural value here in the United States, but to me, the experience, the culture that food encompasses will always be the most important part of a meal.