When talking to customers in the store I used to own, I would often have the same conversations repeated. It is inherent in the relationship between customer and retailer and, far from being tedious; I always found talking about the same topic with different people interesting.
I wanted to hear people’s perspective on the same topic; to me it led to a better understanding of someone. I will give you a small example.
We almost always talk about the weather. It is incredible what a diverse range of opinions you may have about a heatwave. Some revel in the heat and can’t wait to spend time on the beach. Others simply turn on the air conditioner and stay indoors while many still may be on high alert for bushfire. The same is true for rain; people may welcome wet weather or detest it or be somewhere in between.
I thought about this when a friend of mine gave me the somewhat backhanded compliment that I was good at small talk. He regarded small talk as menial and perhaps even boring. To him, the idea of being with people and discussing the weather or whatever comes to mind was somehow a lower form of communication.
To that idea I would ask, lower than what? Don’t all relationships start with minor topics of conversation? World leaders do not start a weighty discussion without first observing the niceties of human interaction.
Perhaps my friend’s observation was I tend to enjoy the lighter type of conversations than the seemingly more important. This is possibly true, but in my experience the relating to and understanding of others almost always starts with a discussion of their football team, their favourite movie, the weather or, most importantly for me, what they are planning for dinner tonight.
Food is not only a conversation starter but the sharing of food with others promotes discussions of all sorts. This may seem a long bow to draw, but I think it is one of the reasons junk food is detrimental to your health. Added to the lack of nutrition is the lack of interaction with people in the preparation, eating and cleaning up after. The whole process of engaging with others about a meal is more time consuming than buying a burger, but the rewards are far greater than simply the kilojoules we consume.
You will notice that I always make the distinction between junk food and fast food. Junk food has little nutritional value and is high in fat, sugar, salt, and calories.
The following mushroom risotto can be made at home in less time than it takes to order, collect and serve a takeaway meal at your dinner table, with the bonus you may have some meaningful discussions with those whom you love.