Thursday, July 8, 2010

Happiness Explained: Family + Food = Happiness


As you all know I love cooking. I have never taken a cooking class in my entire life so I considered myself a home cook just like any other mom in America. My first cooking memories always takes me back to my grandmother's house. She is one of those women that  everyone around the city knew. Her cooking was sooo good that she was able to to use the earnings toward her children college fund and buy her own house.

Roasted Mediterranean Chicken
My grandmother has always been a very independent woman something that was not the norm during that specific period of time.  

My grandmother's was born and raised in the Island of Puerto Rico around the 1920's. Her father was a respected member of the community, was involved in politics, and owned  a small country store. 

Puerto Ricans, just like my grandmother, value family life and will put their family first. They consider family a core cultural value.



The traditions and beliefs of Puerto Ricans are heavily influenced by Puerto Rico's Afro-Spanish history. Many Puerto Rican customs and superstitions blend the Catholic religious traditions of Spaniards and the pagan religious beliefs of the West African slaves who were brought to the island beginning in the sixteenth century. Puerto Rican family structure is extensive; it is based on the Spanish system of compadrazco (literally "co-parenting") in which many members—not just parents and siblings—are considered to be part of the immediate family.


 During weekends everyone visited my grandmother. As soon as she turn on the stove we all knew we were on the road of happiness.  Her food was magical. It made all your worries go away. It can even heal you. Her food bring people together, make others forgive, and others fall in love. I really miss her... I wish I can fly to Puerto Rico  
anytime soon.

Is because of these wonderful  memories that the following article cached my attention.
  
A team of ‘Happiness Ambassadors’, traveling through 206 countries in 365 days, have come up with the simplest formula in the world to make people happy. Family + Food = Happiness.
Tomatoes from my garden

The ‘Ambassadors’, who are not diplomats, have nothing to do with foreign policy and represent no one but the survey they’re engaged in, say that food is the second greatest source of happiness for people of all cultures, incomes and age-groups.

Kelly Ferris, a 23-year-old student from Brussels, Belgium, who was in India recently as part of her ‘ambassadorial’ duties, says food is a particular source of happiness for people in China, Japan, India and Malaysia. She says Asia also comes together in the joy of honoring tradition and family values.
Chicken spaghetti

The ‘ambassadorial’ survey, which is the initiative of a global soft drink company, started in the Spanish capital Madrid on January 1. It is expected to end in the American city of Atlanta on December 31. In India — the 100th country visited by the ‘ambassadors’ — the expedition was approaching halfway mark.


Ferris says that Indian adults manifestly display their happiness at the prospect of attending weddings or when bonding with the community, while Indian children manifestly love to shop and play/watch cricket.

Shrimp and Spicy Cheese Grits


But most people surveyed around the world, including India, said they were happiest with family time — catching up with loved ones at the end of the day’s work made 39% happy; eating with the family made 22% happy and chatting to friends or colleagues brought joy to 17%.

The new, evolving happiness formula underlines the truth of neuroscientists’ increasing belief that happiness is not a vague concept or mood but very real and can be measured. But where does money figure in the happiness index? Not particularly high-up, says psychologist and author Dr Richard Stevens, who has analyzed the findings of the ‘ambassadorial’ survey. “Without relationships, love, family or friendship, most people will not be content and no amount of money can fill this void,” says Stevens.



Read the full post here: Family + Food = Happiness
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