Forget expensive gifts and fancy outings; sometimes, the key to deeper connections lies in the simple act of sharing a meal. Food has a way of breaking down barriers, sparking conversations, and creating a sense of community. But have you ever wondered why food is so effective at bringing people together?

In this article, we’ll explore the surprising power of food to unlock happiness and forge lasting bonds with Paul Cure, Community Chair for the Conference on World Affairs.

Cultural Diversity and Food

Did you know that food can be a passport to exploring different cultures and building bridges of understanding? Take Paul, for example. He has explored and embraced diverse culinary experiences, from Italian classics to Filipino specialties, which shaped his taste buds, deepened his appreciation for cultural richness, and broadened his network of connections. 

However, while food is a big source of nourishment and joy, it can also be a big source of suffering. Eating disorders and unhealthy relationships with food can turn something meant to bring happiness into a source of stress. This is where cultivating a healthy relationship with food becomes crucial, so Paul Cure introduces the concept of slow food.

What is Slow Food?

Paul’s diverse experience framed his thinking about how we can make a difference in our relationship with food. According to him, rather than the predominating trend of fast food where people do not even know what they are eating, slow food is all about savoring the entire eating experience.

Slow food encourages mindful eating, where you pay attention to the taste, texture, aroma, and visual presentation. This philosophy encourages a more conscious and connected way of eating. Moreover, slow food promotes gathering with loved ones over a meal, creating a sense of community and togetherness.

Reshape Your Relationship With Food

Paul highlights that food allows you to think better, be more productive, and connect with yourself and others. He believes we must first rethink our relationship with food to build lasting connections through food. And like any relationship, you’ve got to give time, space, and commitment to savor it.

I’m a big proponent of building the habit of savoring. It’s about truly training ourselves in that moment to enjoy whatever we are consuming, truly taking the time to experience the aromas, flavors, and tastes. When we are eating, noticing what we are putting on a plate, the colors, textures, and smells, and tuning into that taste, we practice mindfulness. 

Even with our busy lives, building a more joyful and mindful relationship with food is achievable. This might involve learning new cooking skills, supporting local chefs, or simply taking the time to savor your meals. Paul emphasizes that the bigger goal is to cultivate a relationship with food that is enjoyable and brings you joy.

Building Connections Through Food 

By making small changes and focusing on the joy of food, you can create a more mindful relationship with it and use it as a bridge to connect with the people around you. Sharing meals, discussing food preferences, or participating in community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs can deepen your bonds with others, creating a sense of community.

That creates opportunities for conversation, shared experiences, and a sense of connection and belonging. And the best part? It all starts with appreciating the simple goodness of food. It can spark a conversation, bring out laughter, and, ultimately, build memories.

So, I invite you to take the time to appreciate the experience of eating together. Slow down, savor the food, enjoy the company, and be present in the moment with the people around you. Sharing food is the ultimate way to turn meals into connections.


In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to forget the simple pleasures in life, and food is no exception. By taking the time to cultivate a more mindful and joyful relationship with food, we unlock a powerful tool for both personal happiness and connection with others.  

Sharing meals, exploring new flavors, and slowing down to savor the experience nourishes our bodies and strengthens our bonds with loved ones, colleagues, and even strangers.  So, put down your phone, gather around the table, and let food be the bridge that brings you closer to happiness and connection.

Ever wonder why food brings people together and sparks joy? In today’s HAPPINESS SQUAD Podcast episode, Ashish Kothari and Paul Cure, Community Chair for the Conference on World Affairs, explore how food can be the secret ingredient to happiness and deeper connections.

Learn more about Paul at his LinkedIn.

Listen to the podcast with Ashish and Paul below.

Access and subscribe to all of the episodes of the Happiness Squad Podcast here.

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