Food and family are often at the heart of our holiday gatherings, traditions, and celebrations. Many contend that the latter, that is our relationships, are central to well-being. But it’s just in recent years that positive psychology research suggests that food may be as well.
In the newest issue of MAPP Magazine, the alumni publication of the University of Pennsylvania Master of Applied Positive Psychology program, we’re pleased to feature a collection of articles exploring these topics and this month’s theme: Food, Family, and Flourishing.
The mission of MAPP Magazine is first to keep University of Pennsylvania Master of Applied Positive Psychology Program (MAPP) alumni connected, and second to share the wide range of our applications of positive psychology with a broader audience to inspire collaboration and growth in the field.
Our sustenance: From scraps to soul food, a positive institution
Soul food is so much more than just food. It’s a triumphal narrative identity. In this article, amid a heartwarming narrative of food, faith, and family, Frank Jackson (MAPP ’21) explores the historical and contemporary role of food in the Black community—as a storyteller, a symbol of resilience and spirituality, a thread connecting past to present and future, and sustenance for the soul.
Nourishing bodies and enhancing relationships: The power of shared meals
Michal Levison (MAPP ’22) contends that the shared meal, a transcendent human ritual, offers opportunities not only for physical nutrition but perhaps more importantly, for relational nourishment. In this exploration, Levison backs her assertions with compelling research, offers a 4-part recipe to strengthen relationships, and tells moving stories of how connections across a table have literally saved lives.
Pathways to well-being through cooking for family and friends
If you’re stressing over the upcoming holidays and feeling more overwhelmed than excited about the prospects of preparing holiday meals, this article is for you! Read on for 5 quick tips from cook and coach, Tracey Specter (MAPP ’18), about how to have more fun and less stress as you cook for others this holiday season. Be on the watch for Tracey’s upcoming cookbook.
Happiness is edible: Why happiness also comes from our relationships with food
In Mexican culture and around the world, oft-cited proverbs commonly link food to flourishing. In this piece, through personal vignettes and organizational anecdotes, Luis Pineda (MAPP ’14) shares how food and eating can function as joyful and bonding practices that profoundly contribute to well-being.
On food and flourishing | Reflections from Dr. Paul Rozin
Read reflections from food-and-flourishing expert, Paul Rozin, PhD, in this article. From his years of research on biological, psychological, and anthropological perspectives on the differences in human food choices across cultures, Dr Rozin offers suggestions of how we can leverage food to promote more flourishing in life.
Rozin, P., Kabnick, K., Pete, E., Fischler, C., & Shields, C. (2003). The ecology of eating: Part of the French paradox results from lower food intake in French than Americans, because of smaller portion sizes. Psychological Science, 14, 450-454.
Rode, E., Rozin, P., & Durlach, P. (2007). Experienced and remembered pleasure for meals: Duration neglect but minimal peak-end effects. Appetite, 49, 18-29.
Friends preparing a meal – featured photo courtesy of Kelsey Chance on Unsplash
The wonders of pie photo courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
Family eating together photo by Jimmy Dean on Unsplash
Chopping vegetables photo courtesy of Alyson McPhee on Unsplash
Mexican food photo courtesy of We the Creators on Unsplash
Paul Rozin picture courtesy of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at Penn