I’ve categorized my stories for easy access:

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Social interactions, from ancillary to substantive, affect our overall social health and overall well-being. Positive social connections help lower levels of anxiety and depression, increase self-esteem, and boost immune systems. Eating out provides many opportunities for social interactions. Remember Sam Malone greeting Norm as he entered Cheers, “where everyone knows your name”?

Examples of restaurants boosting our social health include:

1. Provide a gathering place

2. Offer guest loyalty programs (e.g., mug clubs)

3. Provide communal tables

4. Integrate local artists’ work into the decor

5. Create outdoor spaces improving neighborliness

6. Initiate special event extras (e.g., birthday treats)

7. Invite suggestions for improvements

Done thoughtfully, restaurants can promote camaraderie and community. Society’s recent emphasis on social connections presents a unique opportunity for restaurants to feed guests’ hunger-to-belong, not just their physiological hunger!

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” — Henry Ford

Photo by Becky Fantham on Unsplash

I think I made a mistake (or two). It’s not an earth-shattering one. Nor is it irreversible. But it must be a “real mistake” because I’ve learned from it. …

Photo by Naveed J on Unsplash

I have several bottles of wine waiting 'for the right occasion.'

They were gifts from colleagues and were given with a smile and a wink. "Open this for a special occasion.", they said. The bottles were stored away, and my partner and I waited for that special event. …

Photo from the author’s archives

Like so many others, I hunger-to-belong. Earlier this year, my hunger was the impetus to sitting down in front of my keyboard and a blank screen.

During the pandemic, news headlines about loneliness, isolation, and belonging swirled in my head.

· How to Manage Your Loneliness

· Loneliness was a…

Photo from the author’s archives

The purple river of people flowed down our local restaurant row. While the pace was slow, the energy was palpable.

As we entered the multi-sensory event, we were bombarded with a multitude of aromas wafting from the kiosks lining the curbs. …

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

“We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.” ― Confucius

My second life began after the sudden death of my partner. As I came out of the grey swirls of disbelief, my acute awareness of our delicate hold on life hit me hard…

Irene Fassler

Giving voice to our hunger-to-belong. Finding ways to bring people together. And I just like to write and read and engage! https://culinary-communities.com

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