July 30, 2014
Some of the best conversations happen over food. Families reconnect and talk about their days at the dinner table. Friends meet for lunch and catch up on their lives. Coffee is a great way to get to know someone. Romantic dinners are ripe for meaningful connections. There’s a reason why so many first dates include a meal. There’s something about sitting down at a table that puts people at ease and opens up the lines of communication.
I’m a bit of a talker. (Okay, that’s actually an understatement…those of you who know me, stop laughing). I love nothing better than a lovely meal and lively conversation. I do love good food, but I’d rather have great company and mediocre food than the other way around.
I eat lunch at my desk far too often, so when I go out with my coworkers, it’s always a welcome break in the day. No matter where we eat, the best part is always the banter. I work with smart, creative people who always make any meal more interesting. (By the way, do you have a spirit animal? Mine is a meerkat.)
Longfellow once said, “A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books.”
I don’t know if I can classify our conversations as “wise” but I do think our lunchtime talks make us all better players on the office team. We’re usually so engrossed in conversation that I don’t really stop to think about the food I’m eating or how it got there. I know someone had to grow it or farm it, but I pretty much take it for granted.
For a group of students who work and study at MSU’s Student Organic Farm, putting food on the table is the end goal to a lot of hard work and never taken for granted. Students literally dig in and get their hands dirty at one of the oldest, most highly regarded programs of its kind in the nation throughout the year. Check out Part I of the beautiful MSUToday photo essay, Planting the Seed: How a Farm Gets to Table, to see firsthand what the students are doing.
Josh Dargavell, a graduate student studying jazz studies and a member of the Jazz Trombone Studio, recently got to share a meal and conversation with Tom “Bones” Malone, a professional musician who has played in the “Late Show” band and with everyone from the Blues Brothers to Frank Zappa. Read his STUDENT VIEW: Lunch with Bones, to learn more about this great opportunity, arranged by his professor and mentor.
Douglas Olsen, an associate professor of nursing, brings something else to the table of health care. He’s an expert in nursing ethics and, in August, will be joining other leaders to look at the development of a national and international agenda for the field. Read his FACULTY VOICE: Caring Concern for Others, to learn more about this important topic.
The next time you think about eating at your desk, or popping in a microwave dinner at home, share a meal and a conversation with someone else. If that someone is a Spartan, that conversation could be about farming, music, nursing or maybe even about spirit animals. No matter what, it’s bound to be interesting.
Photo by Kurt Stepnitz