In primitive times, food was delivered in bulk in the form of a whole animal—bison for four, anyone?—so it had to be shared by more than just a single family, the study notes. Since the very early days, food has been closely linked with cooperation. Learning how to distribute those portions fairly helped promote mortality and equality.
Sharing Food with Others Is Good for You and Your Children
Sitting down to a meal with others is beneficial in multiple ways. A recent study by researchers from the University of Antwerp in Belgium looked specifically at the act of sharing food with everyone at the table.
Those who shared meals more often as children scored higher on the altruism scale, exhibiting such positive pro-social personality traits as giving directions to strangers, offering their seats on public transportation, helping their friends move, and volunteering.
To be clear, this refers to sharing food with others at a meal, such as by eating family style where the food is served on large platters from which everyone partakes. It is not the same thing as going out to dinner with a group of friends during which each person orders an individual entrée.
The researchers explained that sharing food presents a perfect opportunity to think about fairness …
However, simply grabbing a meal with your girls won’t develop your altruistic side, the study authors note. In order to get the effect, you have to share a plate. In doing so, you’re forced to think about how to distribute the food in a fair manner. So instead of grabbing individual entrees next time you’re heading out, think of sharing a bowl of Asian noodles or a plate of sushi, hitting a Spanish tapas joint, or grabbing an artisan pizza from the Italian spot in town. You’ll get great food and be a better person post-meal. How sweet is that?
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