“I love food!” I hear this on a regular basis. We live in a society that has a passion for food, or so they say. Recently, I discussed the joy of food with an elder at church. I listened to her describe a dish she prepared, and noticed that she described it with all of her being. As she went through the steps, she mimicked the mixing and pouring. As she described the smells, textures and flavors she closed her eyes visualizing it all as she told me about it. I was enraptured.
At that moment I thought to myself, “This is what it is to have a sincere appreciation for food. She handles her food with such care and is mindful of all that goes into it. Food for her is more than a source of nutrition but an experience”. I think about all of the self-proclaimed “foodies”. They take the best photos, write with painstaking detail, trying all of the newest, greatest and trendiest cuisine that the industry has to offer but I never felt anything like I did as this woman drew me into her culinary experience.
This begs the question: what does it mean to love food? Many people think eating constantly demonstrates love for food. I would argue that it’s the exact opposite. Some would assume that the size of the woman is as great as her love for food. You, too would be wrong. Someone who appreciates food appreciates it so much that the idea of rushing through it is unthinkable. She takes 30 minutes minimum to eat. At first that may seem like the reasonable amount of time, but I challenge you to make your meal last as long. You may be surprised.
For all who love food but don’t cook, why?! Food is not experienced in consumption alone, but in preparation. It is one thing to enjoy the final results, but to see and be a part of its beginnings are something to behold, as well. To see a mass of flour, yeast and water transform into beautifully brown and tender loaf. Don’t underestimate the feeling of seeing the fruits of your labor.
I know that I could learn a lot from my elder especially when it comes savoring my food as I eat it and not inhaling it. But, I would like to think I have some of it right. I love the process of making dishes, coming together and sharing with others.