Beyond serving the functional requirement of nourishing our bodies, food can be a focus of attitudes and practices that include something spiritual/religious. A theme in this is appreciation, with food being both essential to our survival and one of the simple pleasures of life.
Food can bring people together –
sharing daily meals, or in feasts that may be part of special occasions.
Words may be spoken –
to express gratitude at having sustenance or to show respect for living things that we consume.
Rituals may be observed –
in particular ways of serving tea, raising a glass for a toast, and in preparing and presenting different foods.
Food can be part of an expression of values.
Feeding the needy is an act of compassion.
And, in the spirit of keeping kosher, some insist on products that are organic, free-range, or with other qualities seen as being healthy, clean, and prepared in ways that
seem proper – for slaughtered animals and
with respect to workers who produce the food,
and for impact on the environment.
Along with enjoying, appreciating, and reflecting on food, some choose, on occasion, to fast – to purify or cleanse, or as a reminder of what it means to do without.
Where our food comes from (history and modern processing)
Ethical factors in food choices
Food and nutrition information center (US Department of Agriculture)