My favorite things about travel (and life really) can basically be summed up in two words:
And combining the two is just about the best. This culture of sharing food goes back as far as…well, forever really and reaches all corners of the globe whether we are talking about a huge Italian meal that lasts all afternoon, a Vietnamese feast that is fresher than you can imagine, or a late night, life affirming dinner in Spain, food brings us together – family and friends, for laughs, debates, learning, and love.
People might say “oh, the Italians, they know how to eat;” or “the French do the best food,” but really, so do the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Vietnamese, the Japanese, the Mexicans, the Spaniards, the Israelis, (I can go on and on) and yes, so many parts of America. No matter where I’ve traveled, food has been the center of life. Families, friends, and new acquaintances gather to share and enjoy food. I love everything about this.
Meal Sharing, the Easy Way
Over the last decade, I’ve shared so many meals with new friends, I can’t even keep track of them all (thankful for Facebook for this!). So when I heard about new apps like EatWith.com and MealSharing.com, I knew I had to try that too.
MealSharing.com is a new social-networking site and app that aims to hook travelers up with hosts for home-cooked meals in cities all over the globe. Their goal is to build a community based on the real world experience of sharing a meal together. Eating is one of the most direct ways to get to know a city and culture, but you can eat all the street food you want and it’s not going to help you understand it more than a home-cooked meal in someone’s home.
There are some set meal dates and “regular” hosts that enjoy cooking and having folks over. You can peruse the site for your current city and join a dinner. There’s a small chip-in fee that can be from $8-20 or so depending on the meal.
I signed up for a “Taste of Japanese Home Cooking” in a neighborhood north of mine in Chicago. Takemasa greeted me in the lobby of his building as I couldn’t find his name on the buzzer. He was gracious, fascinating, and a wonderful cook. There were about eight other diners there of varying ages and backgrounds. The conversation volleyed from travel and food (naturally) to architecture and design.
At something like this, I know the conversations will be interesting because of the nature of the kind of open minded people that specifically sign up for this type of event.
Takemasa hand-lettered his menu in Japanese characters and wowed us with each course.
For more info: