Food is not just food. It is everything. It is everything in the weird cosmic way that anything is everything. Your favourite neighbourhood restaurant is the confluence of the profoundly unique economic and geographic and social and political and cultural history of the land you live on. It is a unique moment in time, bred of the zeitgeist of its space in the continuum of existence. In this sense, it is the culmination of each and every hidden, invisible thread that weaves the tapestry upon which you exist.
But food is also an intensely human construction, even while its corollary, nourishment, is our shared connection to every living being on earth. Food is created by people, who have hopes and dreams and motivations and opinions and priorities.
Your neighbourhood restaurant is a place where you go to buy food, but it is also community. It is convenience. It is safety. It is a public space where people can see each other, be seen, be comfortable. Be cared for. It is a ward against the existential and physical loneliness of our splintered, hyper-individualized world. It is a balm, a place you can look forward to going and where you can go to forget, for a moment, the immediacy of life's ever-increasing pressures.
Food — real food — and the experience of sharing it, making it, and eating it, can connect us to all that is good.
Brillât Savarin famously said tell me what you eat and I'll tell you who you are. To this, I would add tell me where you eat and I'll tell you the story of your world.
Food, and eating publicly, is too important to marginalize as "just food". Keep eating. Keep enjoying. Keep patronizing. Stay curious. Appreciate innovation and courage. Keep instagramming your meals. Keep food alive.