I just had a memory as I late night snack. There’s this great pizzeria in Portland, ME called Flatbread Company. Their boxes said “Food is Love.” It’s stuck with me ever since. All the great moments in my life have been across a kitchen table with friends, the intimacy of the moment thinking, “Yes, food is love.” We were laughing, sharing anecdotes, passionately debating, and loving each moment as we drove our points home. Music played in the background, the songs becoming numbers in the soundtrack of our lives… All those familiar faces who one doesn’t have to say anything to, but reveals everything; the smiles; and the sense of kinship. A meal brings it together. It brings together families, allowing children to impress their parents and later lends a sense of security, “Yes I was loved.” Siblings swap memories of kicking each other beneath the table and how mom hated elbows on it and the corny jokes that dad always told- even sneaking to feeding the family pet. Husbands and wives think of the moments of quiet comfort shared over a cup of coffee or those heated moments “before the kids.” Lovers exchange intimate gazes over candlelight or in a restaurant and feel alone, just the two of them as the world becomes a mist that fades away to the background. She watches his face of rapture as a flavorful bite of perfectly seasoned Chateaubriand explodes his taste buds. He looks at her close her eyes in ecstasy as delicate bits of Tiramisu burst into mini pieces of coco richness onto her tongue. In this, they become children of eros— filled with wanton thoughts and desire.
Where does love take over, at the tip of a spoon or fork? Religions and cultures worldwide view breaking bread as an honor. It is a sacred act to share one’s meal with another. A Sukuma Afrikaan prayers involves sprinkling water and flour before meals to the four corners of the Earth:
Facing east: “For our ancestors of the distant past.”
Facing west: “For our recent living dead.”
Facing north: “For our living.”
Facing south: “For our yet unborn.”
I don’t know where love takes over but food transcends and as I learned years ago in a crowded eatery filled with strangers, hipsters, squares, youth, and elderly; different heritages, ethnics, and demographics biting into a slice of Coevolution pizza giggling as I dropped tomatoes with a thread of mozzarella on my chin-
“Food is LOVE.”