Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Food Equals Love

Food equals love in my world.
Before you suggest a good therapist, let me explain. 
Umm....Food equals love.

Just kidding!  I realized as I was about to try to explain that it all seemed so self-evident; what could I possibly need to explain?  But then, believing that something is glaringly obvious is usually the first hint that it may be an opinion deeply particular to yourself.

So I'll try.
When people put thought, effort and energy into planning, preparing, and presenting food (of almost any caliber) I see it as an act of love.  When I eat food prepared by people I know, I feel a little bit more loved by them.

So when my dad prepared food to feed 50 for any party over 5, we all could eat from the bounty of his generous heart.  And when my mom got into "food ruts" and we enjoyed chicken burritos or stir-fried mixes from the red wok every week for three months in a row, we could all eat from the well of her deep love.  Food like that says, my love may not be fancy, but it will be here. Every week. In repeating themes. When my Aunt puts as much care into the way the table looks, with coordinating dishes and napkins, setting plated visions of beauty worthy of five stars, her food says, I honor each of you with royal treatment because my love finds you worthy.  This day, this family, this moment is worth my love and attention because some things are just meant to be special. My love celebrates you. When people send me food after babies, during grief, when I'm sick, we eat each bite in overwhelming grattitude, tasting the message, "Whatever it is, may this food give you comfort and strength.  We love you." 

Sometimes love tastes like a vegetarian pizza from Papa Murphy's that your sister has waiting for you when you get home from the doctors.  Sometimes it looks like the last bit of dessert that your husband left for you without being asked.  Sometimes love smells like breakfast being cooked while you get to stay in bed.  Sometimes it's the way fresh basil from your in-laws' garden elevates the deliciousness of everything you add it to.   

Holidays come around and we look for familiar favorites on the menu. Why? Because the memory of this special food, served with joy each year on these special days, is like singing the chorus to the song of our food stories.  Our food stories that tell the story of our lives and of our love.  All mixed up together in ways that I don't easily separate.

So yes, I know love is love in my world. 
I'm just saying that sometimes, it also looks, smells and tastes an awful lot like food.

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