Breaking Bread

About the Project

Breaking Bread takes a deeper look into the ways in which the act of sharing a meal can connect people. As social beings, humans have been sharing food since the beginning of their existence. Whether it is breakfast at the kitchen table, a work dinner, or brunch with friends, we are always sharing food with others. Studies have shown that simply eating with another can influence your interactions with that person. As the Bible states, “It's hard to remain enemies when you've broken bread together.” We use food as a way to connect, and this project looks to explore the different factors within those meals that contribute to our interpersonal relationships. Through a survey of 20 individuals, data was collected from each person to create a snapshot of the last meal they had with another person or persons. Each of these meals is represented by a circle, color-coded by the relationship between the respondent and their meal guest. These 20 circles are then grouped or manipulated in different ways to illustrate the different attributes of each respondent's meal. Any pink underlined words can be hovered on to reveal trends within the visualizations. Hover over each of the plates below to see what each person ate during their meals. Then continue scrolling to discover the data visualizations.


Of the 20 meals, these are the different relationships that people had with the people they ate with:

The majority of people ate with friends. The least popular meal guest was co-workers with only one occurance. Other relationships include family, classmates, and significant others.

Sharing and Number of People

Here are the people who ate with more than one person, and if they shared food:

Only one person did not share any of the dishes with other people during their meal (those who shared dishes are indicated with a black ring). About half the people ate with more than one person (those who ate with multiple people are represented with larger circles). People have been shown↗ to feel more connected when eat the same food together. They show greater cooperation and agreement on ideas.


Here is where each person ate:

People who ate with friends were almost evenly split between eating at someone's home and eating at a restaurant. Most people who ate with family stayed at home.


Here is what people had to drink during their meals:

People who drank alcohol tended to be friends or family. A study↗ by University of Pittsburgh showed that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol in a social setting can increase social bonding between people.


Here are the different cuisines everyone had:

The most popular cuisines were Italian and Thai. Italian and Thai rank 3rd and 4th respectively in a list of the most popular ethnic cuisines↗ in America according to the rate that people search the terms on Google. Chinese and Mexican ranked 1st and 2nd respectively.

Length of the Meals

Here is how long each person's meal lasted:

People spend less time eating when they are eating with family. An article↗ from The Atlantic discusses how American families "don’t prioritize eating together and eating slowly." It suggests that taking time to eat food with your family can lead to better physical and psychological well-being.

The Meal in Their Own Words

Here is how each person would describe their meals in one word or phrase:

funny (we were watching tv) Cozy Pleasant Bonding Fun Eye opening. fun Satisfied delicious Heart-Warming Communal Comforting Comforting Whole. tasty cozy Fun Comfy Cozy interesting

Many people described their meal with words relating to warmth, such as "cozy" or "comfy". A lot of people also described their meal as "fun".

Thank you for visiting! This website is coded by Jamie Soohoo :)