A long table with plates of food, showing why food is important.

Why is food important for culture and self-image? Is food a villain that you’ll constantly have to battle for the rest of your life?

On Wiser Than Me, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Ruth Reichl assure viewers that food shouldn’t be a bad thing. Despite many people’s fear of overeating or stressing about body image, food connects people and ignites joy in those who are suffering.

Continue reading to learn more about the importance of food beyond nutrition.

Why Food Is a Gateway to Joy and Solace

In a heartwarming conversation, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Ruth Reichl share their mutual passion for food and cooking. Louis-Dreyfus shares a personal story about finding comfort in food during a challenging time of her life, emphasizing why food is important.

Reichl affirms food as the ubiquitous source of joy, even comparing its pleasure-giving nature to music.

The Healing Power of Cooking

Reichl discusses the therapeutic role cooking plays in her life. It provides her with a sense of comfort and peace during distressing phases or significant changes in her life. 

The ritual of cooking evolves into a form of meditation for her. It serves as a constant reminder of the importance of cherishing life. 

Moreover, it embodies the task of continuing the legacy of those she’s lost. This aspect evokes a deep sense of commitment and respect, intertwining her love for cooking with her respect for the departed.

Personal Culinary Endeavors: The Adventure of Homemade Marmalade

Towards the end of the episode, Louis-Dreyfus reveals her recent accomplishment of creating homemade orange marmalade from her backyard oranges. This was a decision “fruitfully” backed despite her grandmother’s disapproval. 

She shares a humorous story about her guest Judith, centered around her homemade marmalade. At a previous dinner event, she had offered Judith this product of her culinary adventures, a gesture Judith held dear. Playfully, Julia indicates she may stock Judith up with a lot of this marmalade in the future.

Outside of this shared love for the homemade delicacy, they converse enthusiastically about an upcoming family dinner. Julia is hosting this event for Judith and her spouse, Michael, in Los Angeles. The excitement is palpable, and it’s hinted that they may turn the dinner into a collaborative cooking experience.


Both Louis-Dreyfus and Reichl emphasize how food brings comfort and pleasure to their lives. They find solace in preparing homemade delicacies, recognizing that cooking can be a source of healing during challenging times. The act of creating meals not only nourishes the body but also uplifts the spirit. Through their shared love for food, they highlight its ability to provide a sense of fulfillment and happiness.

Furthermore, this conversation delves into exploring different cuisines and culinary traditions as a means to continue legacies. Cooking becomes an avenue for preserving cultural identity and heritage. By embracing diverse flavors from around the world, individuals can connect with their roots while celebrating diversity. Additionally, they touch upon how food is intricately tied to memory—evoking nostalgia through familiar tastes or triggering emotions associated with past experiences.

Looking ahead, both Louis-Dreyfus and Reichl express excitement about future culinary experiences and discoveries. They anticipate continued enjoyment in exploring new flavors while recognizing that cooking has an impact beyond satisfying hunger—it fosters mental well-being by providing an outlet for creativity and self-expression.

Why Is Food Important? (Julia Louis-Dreyfus & Ruth Reichl)

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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