Anyone who’s tried (and failed) to follow a diet knows that food is more than fuel. The reasons we eat are even embedded in our language. When we’re in an unfamiliar place, we yearn for comfort food. We take one too many scoops of ice cream because we stress eat. We connect to others by breaking bread.
Having spent decades studying the interplay between food, identity, and culture, psychologist Paul Rozin has come to appreciate that hunger isn’t the only reason we head for the kitchen. He says, “Food is not just nutrition that goes in your mouth or even pleasant sensations that go with it. It connects to your whole life, and it’s really a very important part of performing your culture and experiencing your culture.”
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