As a neuroscience major, I've learned, in detail, about all the synchronized systems running 24/7 inside our bodies. We don't have the capacity to effortlessly see past our outer appearances to the parts of us that we all share as members of the same species, humanity (a nervous system that responds to pain and stimuli, a heart that beats and seems to physically ache when we experience arousing feelings of sadness or anger or jealousy, and a brain that has its own unique plastic structure, shaped by our experiences from newborn to college student).

Our attention is, instead, captured by the color of someone's eyes, the length of their hair, their skin color, or their body shape. We can't begin to fathom the complexity of the brain, therefore we can't even begin to fully understand people for all that they are. So why do we try to make judgments from information we are only able to perceive with eyes that see a simple spectrum of light with the help of the rods and cones, microscopic in size? We need to remember we all need air to breathe, water to quench our thirsts, and food to eat.

Although these are simple homeostatic processes, they play a huge role in reminding us what makes us all human. You're reading this because of your passion for food, so let's start with that.


cake, chocolate cake, brownie, chocolate
Rebecca Sather Jenkins

Because our society is so fast-paced, only those best fit for it will "survive," as Darwin once said. It's common to see people cut corners or step over people to get where they want to go. It's preached that if you're the quiet, little do-gooder who sits in your cubicle and does "average" work, you won't get anywhere. Even worse, it is engraved in young students' minds that grades define them and if they aren't extremely book smart, there isn't hope for them as an adult.

Despite the competitive nature of our society, we all love to curl up on the couch with a tray of brownies and a cup of hot chocolate while binge-watching rom-coms. The gooiness is hard to compete with, and I'm sure if you sat on the couch with your biggest competition, you'd enjoy the dopamine-inducing brownies equally as much, unless they tried to hog them all (because the brownies are just that good), or chocolate turns their stomach (in that case, I'm sorry). 

In all seriousness, we all have hopes that motivate us, that give us a high we can't even begin to describe. We all hope to leave a mark on the world, evidence that we lived a full life. We should keep this in mind when we experience feelings of jealousy. Fulfillment requires different efforts of different people depending on what they wish to do with this life. At the heart of most people's desire for success is a reason, even if we aren't completely aware of it. Even a selfish motive is grown from the desire to feel accepted by a world that is all too hard on us.

Acknowledge your own desires and pursue them with all of your being, but live them out while loving others at the same time. Meanwhile, you may begin to understand why others do what they do, even if it evokes jealousy in your own heart, but you can overcome it.


There is a difference between a fear of forgetting to put your pants on before going to school and being afraid of letting someone see past the front you may put up. This fear, however, is the most crippling of frights. It severely inhibits our willingness to develop risk-filled relationships where we may trade our stoic composure for a stance of fragility, of a human with weaknesses and flaws.

In my experience, there aren't many people who say they really like grapefruit. Something about their bitterness sets people off. Other people who are reading this may be baffled as to how someone could NOT like the luscious and beautiful fruit. We can look at people in the same way: from the outside, grapefruits appear to be a larger kind of orange with a tough peel that is just the worst when it gets under your fingernails. When we get past the pesky outer layer, we may be nose-slapped by the odd smell of something that couldn't actually be a fruit. However, upon closer examination, the bright color of the fruit inside is a beautiful pink. The taste may be unfamiliar, but for many, it's acquired.

People sometimes are acquired "tastes" as well. They aren't the easiest to understand, but with a little extra effort and an open mind, they have a story you may never thought you'd come to know. As a result, you know one more of the 6,999,999 people in this world you wouldn't otherwise have known. Once we get over that initial fear of what we can see with our eyes and our (sometimes) judgmental hearts, we may be welcomed by the most wondrous of sights. The human mind is truly magnificent, and we have the ability to witness it in action if we just interact with others fearlessly.


pea, carrot, legume, parsley, broccoli, vegetable
Lauren Kaplan

It's not a disease of the mind, but rather a disease of our will to understand. The way one becomes ignorant is not by lacking intelligence in any way, but rather, lacking the desire to be informed about the rich diversity our world provides us with. Especially with the extent of our technology, there shouldn't be any excuse as to why we shouldn't know more about all the different kinds of people who share the world with us.

Even more importantly, ignorance can be cured with the desire to pursue those who may not live life the same way we do. Ultimately, no matter the race, ethnicity, language, culture, or religion, we are all people and the world isn't nearly small enough for us to know everything. It's a constant issue of pursuing full understanding, or some degree of it.

Gnocchi is an Italian dish made of potato dumplings, cheese, and creamy sauce that satisfies my desire for carbs galore and the creaminess of cheese (in all its godly forms). When I first tried this dish, I was confused about the texture of the gnocchi. It was so smooth on my tongue, almost as if I was eating some kind of expensive cheese with the most heavenly of creamy flavors.

Upon further investigation, I found out the gnocchi itself is made, in theory, from mashed potatoes. A blind-folded customer, like myself, would've found it hard to put their finger on exactly what this dish actually was, but my desire to eventually reproduce this dish pushed me to look into the exact ingredients, as well as the process.

Familiarizing ourselves with other cultures should be fueled with the same desire we have to perfect a dish or cook good food for the people we love. It could even provide the same inspiration we feel when we want to reproduce a dish we've recently tried, but only if it's pursued with the same intentions of being well-informed, despite the extra effort. Only then, can we defeat the plague that is intolerance.


My freshman year, it was a common occurrence for my friends to take study breaks and make a boba run. I kick myself now thinking back on it. Boba has become one of my favorite things, but my lack of knowledge about the tapioca balls floating around in it made me hesitant to spend five bucks on a drink I might not even like. I went a whole year not knowing the tastiness that was boba/bubble tea, until I took a chance on it and my uncertainty.

I've met people who refuse to expand their tastes simply because of what they've heard about particular foods. I immediately think about some people's aversion to sushi. The idea of what eating raw fish would be like keeps genuine fans of sushi at a minimum. However, the difference between at least trying different dishes and getting to know people, it's harmless to try a bite of sushi, but to refuse to move past negative preconceived notions of a group of individuals different from you is to bring our world to its demise.

Ignorance is the first sign of the onset of intolerance. Intolerance is not only brought on by our willingness to remain ignorant, but also being so stubborn that we refuse to become knowledgeable. We thwart love this way. In the way that I refused to try boba based on the little personal knowledge I had of it (coming from a place of primarily Hispanic culture), our lack of understanding about people of different backgrounds than us keeps us in the dark, but universal notions formed by society we refuse to update are even worse.

After going out on a limb by trying boba, I have become more informed about one of the dishes of another culture and have developed a new favorite drink, outside of Starbucks. If we can do the same, but with people of differing backgrounds, we could be one step closer to an environment of acceptance.

It's sadly ironic, but knowledge—in terms of academia—is praised, but knowledge of other components of humanity—people—isn't promoted nearly as much. And that's a shame.

The world of food, in all of its cultural glory is an aspect of our big, wide world we can all appreciate as fellow foodies. Although, let's spread that love and apply it to the people we share meals with and cook for. Spread the love and get cookin' (and eatin')!