I don't cook very well or very much. But I do love to eat. I enjoy nearly every cuisine. As long as the meal is tasty and nutritious, price or appearance or location doesn't really matter. But food is no longer purely a form of physiological sustenance.
Food now represents another powerful means to signify a moment. Just like music or movies, different meals remind us of different memories, emotions, thoughts, and even individuals. For Western Society, food is an important component of the nostalgia factor - the motivation for why we make many of our decisions.
Food marketers and master chef-entrepreneurs realize this relatively modern reality. That's why we've seen the proliferation of The Food Network, Top Chef, etc. For better or for worse, that's why food is now used as an additional layer of paint that adds further richness to the painting of our lives.