Everyone gives and receives love differently, and we all have at least one form that we prefer above the other. This is what Gary Chapman calls the “5 love languages”. (If you are not familiar with his theory, I invite you to have a look and read his book). I am not sure if Chapman would agree with me, but I might have discovered a 6th love language, or maybe a universal love language.
Don’t you think that preparing dinner for someone is saying to them that we love them, that we care for them? What is so powerful about family dinners or meeting with friends? The power of a hot meal served with love is indescribable. It is interesting to note that so many things are done without the need to put them into words. When we prepare lunch for our family and friends we are showing them that we love them. We say: “welcome”, “I was waiting for you “, “everything is ready for you now that you are back”, “come, have some rest”,…
Many chefs, when asked about their secret ingredient or the touch that makes their plates so exquisite, say that it is love. It’s true, when you cook with love, everything just tastes better! Cooking for others is spreading love through food. My mother is a great cook and I am sure that it is thanks to the love she puts into a dish when she cooks, and also thanks to her Thermomix!
Maybe you recall Disney’s popular theme “Be our Guest” from “Beauty and the Beast”. I really like the introduction Lumiere makes to the dinner:
Is not this invitation of Lumiere, when Belle is scared in the castle, a way of expressing their love? We might have different approaches to how we effectively communicate love but it is very difficult not to receive love when someone prepares a meal for us. When you receive love your “love tank” is filled. When we accept someone’s invitation we are also showing love to the person who invites us, because receiving love is also a beautiful way of reciprocating love.
When you prepare a meal there are so many details to pay attention to, from the table setting to the folded napkins, the clean glasses or the wine. Those small things have the power of making the meal enjoyable. They speak about love. Small things can make a big difference, and it is a characteristic of the artist to pay attention to the little things. I like to define homemaking as the art of giving.
It is interesting to note that animals, for instance, rabbits, never gather to eat together. On the other hand, human beings meet around the table not just to quench our hunger or thirst but to share conversation and companionship. We can transform our most basic needs of eating and drinking into an art. These activities can be a real act of love, because the focus is not just the food but those who share the food with us. Meals shared with other people are social meetings. We sit but we do not immediately start eating. We wait for everybody to arrive. Many families have the tradition of giving thanks to God at the beginning or at the end of the meal. This also reflects that eating is a human act. When you are sharing a meal, your attention is often on the other people and the conversation and you look around to see who might need more water or who may want some more food.
Cooking for others corroborates that the work you put into the home communicates love, and therefore builds strong and joyful families and encourages warm friendships that contribute towards thriving societies.