There is an expression – do you eat to live or live to eat? That defines your dilemma.
Yes, food can be just enough to sustain life as long as a person ate enough calories to sustain a healthy weight and ate a variety of foods that would provide all the nutrients (protein, vitamins, minerals) that their body requires (Recommended Dietary Allowance). Otherwise, they would not be a good steward of their body.
However, there is so much more to food as it should be a pleasurable experience as well. Shared with family and friends in a conversation around a table.
Eating is a social behavior entrenched in each family’s culture which often includes their ethnic food culture. Food culture includes comfort foods that are served during specific holidays and occasions as well as frequent components of a meal such as rice or tortillas.
Children learn from their parents which foods are safe to eat. This food education goes back to our cavemen era when there were no grocery stores with USDA inspected meat, dairy, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. People had to decide whether a food was safe to eat or not.
Sharing food with people outside your family is sharing what you have with those who may not have as much. It is the generosity of the spirit.
Thank you for asking an interesting food philosophy question.