Rather, it seems to me that in the countries of the Mediterranean there exists a deep-seated and largely unspoken consensus that eating is one of the most important things we humans do in our lives. As a great anthropologist once told me, it is our single most intimate act, far more intimate than sex because through food we literally re-create ourselves each and every day of our lives. And beyond individual needs, in Mediterranean countries there's a real sense of eating as a social act, a way of communication, of expressing solidarity and relationship. Gathering around the table, literally breaking bread together, is both a symbol of communion and an act of communion in and of itself.
-- Nancy Harmon Jenkins
Introduction, The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook