The soul in sharing food

Food is what animals offer to help each other stay strong. Cooking is the act of offering strength with love.
3 minute read

In my off hours, I field requests for writing prompts and mail off typewritten letters to the requesters. This is a transcription about food that I mailed in February 2023.

Food is the universal language. It's the ultimate form of expression without words. It's a communication between the cook, their tools and stove, and their guests. In one evening, you can tell everything you need to know about someone's views on life -- their optimism, moral virtue, wit, and patience -- by following the journey of the ingredients they use to serve the people at their table.

That first bite that love letter to someone or something or some idea of a thing, is the pinnacle moment for the person that put in the labor. When the conversations come to a stop and the eyes close, and the pace slows down, that's the goal, the dream. That's the high. How did I do this time? They're eating slow. They're savoring every bite. They're making mental notes on what works, what could improve, but they taste and feel all the love and hope and value that went into every minute of shop, clean, prep, fire, cut, plate, and serve.

There is no greater high than the reciprocity of gratitude between the person who did the cooking and the person enjoying the outcome for the effort. There's no liquid on the planet that you could heat on a spoon and inject into the vein to reproduce that feeling.

Give me a drawer full of cheese and I can cut the tension between enemies. Give me access to a garden, a good knife, pan, and stove, and I can stop wars. Food is love. It is a series of acts of love, for the growers, the dirt, the animals and air, water, and fertilizer, the power of fire and presentation. It8s love for creation and willing into existence, almost by magic, a series of new textures and smells and flavors, and visuals that could not have existed prior to the combined efforts and sacrifices of every living being in the food supply chain.

The first time I ever said "I love you" to my partner was through my cooking. I say it with food at every meal. I say I love you through my kitchen, my love of tedium and iteration and improvement. I say it when my timing improves and every plate arrives hot and fresh and closer to what I dreamed up than the last time.

Food is romance. It is chemical and physical bond. It is the one tradition, force, and factor that alters your entire perception of your world, with or without your consent, until the next meal. You know true love because you've known the magic of making food and feeding others. You know the impact of love through the food made for you. Even broken households taught us that there is love, even when other words and actions may not adequately prove so.

Cooking is therapy, heat is transformation. Cleaning and prep are meditation and the dinner table 1s where we have an opportunity, every night, to show how much we've improved.

Tune in next time for the magic of bidets.

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