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Thanksgiving recap – food is the social lubricant

December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving holiday visit with the in-laws was pleasant – always is.  A psychology professor I had in school once referred to alcohol as the “social lubricant”.    Around the holidays, I think food works much the same way.

Some obsersvations of family / holiday visits.   Much of the activity revolves around food…

1. Getting ready to eat – characterized by light conversation in the kitchen while food is chopped, pots stirred, dishes baked, table places set, and glasses filled with ice and beverage.  

2. Eating – general conversation over several plates of food plus dessert.  Perhaps we eat too much because it is good, but also because the eating is a shared activity that facilitates the conversation and fellowship.

3. Clean up – clearing the table, hand washing what can’t be packed into the dishwasher.  Finding ways to defy the laws physics which state that 2 objects can’t occupy the same place at the same time, while trying to cram all the Tupperware clad leftovers into the refrigerator and get the door to close.   Often more personal topics are discussed in sidebars between those washing and drying dishes.

4. Socialize.  Gather in a common room for a couple of hours while planning the next meal.  Comment on how we all ate too much.  Revel in how good the food was.  Interject personal anecdotes, humorous family stories from years past, assorted small talk.   Repeat.

Luckily these events are spread throughout the year and only last a couple days at a time or I’d weigh a ton.  I gained 2 pounds in as many days.   I’d dismiss these dynamics as localized, but have experienced them elsewhere myself.  I suspect this same pattern replicated itself in millions of homes.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 4, 2008 3:43 am

    this could help to explain why many business deals are negotiated over either food or drinks or a round of golf.   leisure activities provide solace and help open one’s mind.   conversely, boardrooms can be stifling and can create unnecessary pressure.

    i’d much rather meet a client at a coffee shop over a boardroom when negotiating a contract.   save the boardroom for when it’s “go time.”

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