A number of years ago, a book about "love languages" became widely popular. The book explained how people give love, as well as feel loved, differently. Some folks express love to others with acts of service while some of us employ words of affirmation, gifts, spending quality time together, or meaningful touch to convey love. Great read - I recommend you check it out.
As good as the book is, however, it leaves out the primary love language of my family. In my family of origin, my husband's family, and our own little brood, we speak "LOVE" with "F-O-O-D". No doubt about it. You might prefer flowers or perfume but we give and receive love with something good to eat. Often you hear mention of "comfort food"but this is way bigger than that! I am talking about the ability to channel affection, affirmation, appreciation, ardor, or adulation with chocolate cookies!
Maybe it's a Southern thing but my family speaks "LOVE" with food. When a friend has a new baby, we take food. ( For the Mom and Dad - we figure they can feed the baby.) When someone has a tough week, I bake my chocolate chip pie. If you move in to my neighborhood, you might get chicken and dumplings or a big pot of homemade chili. In December, a small group of cherished friends get my Chambers Christmas Jam and yeast rolls. Birthdays at my house call for the celebrant's favs which might be oatmeal scones, cheese grits or homemade Cheerio bars for breakfast. Reuben sandwiches (or Barberitos!) for lunch. And dinner of steak or shrimp or corn spoon bread. Candles have been stuck in ice cream sandwich cakes, coconut sheet cakes, or chocolate chip cookies. Even the crews that have been doing some work on my house lately have been treated to cinnamon rolls, caramel popcorn, and lots of cookies. Whatever tastes like love.
Now I not only dispense love via food, I receive it, too. When I go home (as in "where Mama and Daddy live"), my Mama makes fried chicken and creamed corn and sausage balls and fudge. And "The Mix" - which is her own secret dish for her grandchildren. When she comes to vist, she brings goodies that are specific to each person's individual palette. Sure feels like love when she remembers that Mary likes ramen noodles, Chip wants sausage balls, Betsy craves PopTarts (cuz her own Mom won't buy them!) and Katie loves chocolate chip cookies dough.
This language of love is such an integral part of my emotional DNA that I married a man whose family speaks (or tastes!) the same way. My dear Mother-in-Love makes oatmeal-peanut butter-chocolate cookies that I know will be served in Heaven. In fact, my term for them is "righteousness" - the more you eat, the more you want! And for my husband's birthday or when we gather at her house for holidays or just when she wants to love on us, we are treated to a great big batch of these goodies. (I have been known to hide them from the rest of my family but that is probably an issue for another blog. Or a counseling session.)
I don't see it as an expanding waistline - I just feel loved. When a friend showed up with chicken tetrazzini the day I had some above average demands on me, I felt loved. When my BFF brought dinner the day we brought my grandson home from the hospital, I felt loved. When some amazing and precious friends offered to make food for Katie's wedding reception, you can bet I felt loved. One of 'em even DESIGNED the Groom's cake to reflect the drug-dealin' Bride and Groom!!!! When my dear friend (and pastor's wife!) delivers a loaf of homemade bread to me, I feel loved. When my 10 year old makes her chocolate sheet cake, we ALL feel loved!
I want to hear from you all. What makes YOU feel loved? (And if it's food, feel free to share a recipe or two!)
Originally appeared on October 3, 2012