Some of my earliest memories are of my mother building a fire in the big, iron cooking stove so she could sizzle bacon and eggs and bake fluffy, crisp-on the-bottom biscuits for our early morning breakfasts before school. I also recall my grandma dressing me in an apron that dragged to my ankles, then perching me on a stool so I could carefully cut boiled eggs in half to make deviled eggs. I was six. I didn’t, at that age, equate it to love, but it was.
My first date at “sweet sixteen” was a school dance followed by hot dogs and pineapple milkshakes at the local drive-in. My future husband and I repeated that meal every Saturday night during our high school romance. Those two foods still conjure up memories of first love, although the actuality now would probably result in acute indigestion!
Looking through old scrapbooks recently, I was reminded of a favorite pizza place where my kids and I gathered with their friends for birthday parties or sometimes, just a day out to celebrate good grades or commiserate over disappointments. Pizza was love. Still is. My daughter and I couldn’t spend Mother’s Day together this year because of coronavirus distancing. So, she brought me a pizza from my favorite restaurant, eyes misty over her mask as she handed it to me. It was the perfect gift.
Our lives are filled with examples of love celebrated with food – wedding cakes, ice cream birthday cakes, luncheons with friends, popcorn with family movie nights, neighbors bringing casseroles when a loved one is sick or dies. At Eastertime this year, a neighbor and her children made egg-shaped cookies, decorated them and hung bags of them on our doors. Love!
As I watch the dreaded newscast every night, I am touched by the many food-related love stories…
…Volunteers working long hours to fill food boxes and bags for the jobless.
…Farmers donating produce for which they no longer have markets, to fill those boxes and bags.
…Restaurants and school kitchens cooking meals for the hungry.
…Ordinary, extraordinary people paying for groceries for the person behind them in line and walking away, expecting nothing.
…An out-of-town friend ordering a special meal to be delivered to his buddy in an assisted living facility, who hasn’t been allowed to leave his room for weeks.
…The aroma of fresh bread wafting across the land as we return to our baking roots, (evidenced by current flour shortages in grocery stores.)
No doubt about it – food is love.
SHARON CANFIELD DORSEY is an award-winning poet and author of four children’s books, a book of poetry, Tapestry; a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains; and a travel memoir, Road Trip. WATCH FOR A NEW POETRY BOOK, WALK WITH ME, OUT THIS SUMMER. Her books are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, High Tide Publications and the author.