Friday, December 23, 2011

How food might help us navigate the digital divide

Posted By on Fri, Dec 23, 2011 at 9:30 AM

We keep finding new ways to eat together.
  • Clydebank
  • We keep finding new ways to eat together.
Is a shared love of food enough of a connection point to motivate complete strangers to not only bond in a comments section but also actually get together in real life? That's the question being asked around the country at de facto conventions like the one organized by Joy Wilson, the writer behind Joy The Baker. According to a recent story in The Atlantic, the only common element for participants in a weekend of cooking and eating, Homefries U, is that they're all readers of Wilson's blog, a daily and intensely personal ode to baking and cooking.

Here in Kansas City, we have several meetup groups designed around being adventurous eaters (Test Kitchen) or dietary restrictions like VegKC's group for vegetarians and vegans on Meetup. Footballer (and occasional futballer) Chad Ochocinco can't stop inviting people on Twitter to eat.

It feels like our eating and drinking tastes are some of the most important prequalifiers for taking an online relationship offline. In some respects, it's surprising that we don't yet have a national dating site based on food likes and dislikes. Something like Mac n' Cheese man seeks woman to eat candy apples with in non-carnival situations.

Food makes us comfortable with one another — odds are, we can find some common dish that we loved or were forced to endure as children. And if you can cook yourself, that just adds another layer to the relationship. It's nice to think that even if we're still figuring out how to be civil toward one another online, we can still sit down over a plate of pasta together.

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