Everyone has eating traditions with their family and friends whether they realize it or not. Traditions come about subtly and often unintentionally, but what they develop into is what defines and shapes our relationships and even ourselves.

What most people might think of as tradition is Thanksgiving at Grandma’s every year with turkey, gravy, sweet potato casserole and stuffing—the whole nine yards. While these “typical” eating traditions are nice, I think the most important are those we might not even realize we have: little daily or weekly things that bring us joy and bring us closer to others. 

Let me try to explain with my own experiences.

During my senior year of high school, my mom and I developed a habit of eating dinner in front of the TV once a week while we watched Friends on Netflix. While we never intended for this to become a tradition, I looked forward to laughing with my mom while enjoying her home-cooked meals. We continued this until we finished all 10 seasons.

Since I started at UF, I have found myself a part of a tradition I now look forward to every week. It all started when my dorm friends and I slept in until noon one day, woke up, and had a craving that could only be fulfilled with a big breakfast. So, we went to Metro Diner, talked about life, and just spent two hours relaxing and forgetting about the stress of school. Slowly but surely, it became a tradition for us to go every Sunday.

And I always order a Two Egg Breakfast with hash browns, bacon, and a biscuit—the same thing I ordered the first Metro trip. As silly as it sounds, I’m constantly looking forward to our Metro Sundays, especially when I have a busy, stressful week. It's a time to not look at my phone, not think about my classes, and just laugh with my friends. And we actually like that there is always a 30-minute+ wait because it means more time to spend together.

You may not even view your food traditions as “traditions,” but they probably do exist, and they provide meaning to not only your meals, but to your life. Life is unpredictable and always changing, and traditions provide a source of stability. And eating traditions are the most important of all because nothing brings people together like good food.