I speak Food. What language are you speaking?

If you’ve ever read. The Languages of Love book, or done one of those flippant Facebook quizzes, you’ve probably heard of the concept that we fall into particular camps regarding how we express our love for another — romantic or otherwise. Inconveniently, we also use this filter to perceive the actions of others as loving or not. If you’re curious, feel free to do an online search for the relevant terms and discover if you do perceive the actions of others as loving, and I will use the term nurturing as well. The fun bit is seeing if you and your partner, if you have one, view things the same way. I’m betting you don’t.

One of the main ways I demonstrate my love towards someone is to cook for them. Food is and has always been a big part of my life so this isn’t exactly surprising. I recall being sixteen and cooking a dish which at the time was not only a favourite of mine but also I considered being fairly cutting edge. Please bear in mind it was the 1980’s.

There was this guy I was trying to impress and hopefully get further along the baseball diamond scenario with (first base, second base — you with me?). I even had two versions of this winner dish. The classic version was pan fried chicken breast fillet with a bacon and avocado cream sauce. I know, told you it would be classic. My alternative version was pasta with a chicken, bacon, avocado and cream sauce. Even now as I type these words, I cringe at the thought of dry stringy chicken meat (which I’m sure it was with the fear of food poisoning looming over my head), hard cooked nubs of bacon and under-ripe soapy tasting avocado in a too sweet creamy bath.

I can’t remember his name only that my parents had gone away to their beach house for the weekend and the coast was clear. I can picture a pimply face, short dark hair and him leaning against the kitchen bench whilst I tried to win him over with my kitchen confidence. The wine was Mateus rose — that classic semi-sweet from Portugal. I won’t reveal how well my efforts were received as my mum might read this.

A really beautiful part of the school that my children attended was the rosters that were set up when the class had a new mother. Healthy meals were provided that would nourish the family of the new baby. It was a Steiner school that my children attended so many dietary variations such as vegetarian, allium/dairy/gluten-free and so on had to be respected.

Only a few years ago, one gentleman I had started dating was quite strict on only consuming free range meats and had been lamenting the dearth of smallgoods that fit with his self-imposed parameters. My local organic store stocked a wide selection so I gathered salamis, sliced cured products and sausages into a bouquet complete with tissue paper wrapping. Again, decorum will prevent me from delving into precisely how grateful he was but I’m sure you can figure it out.

What I’m saying is nourishing people with food is one significant way that I show how I care. Of course, I do like compliments and affirmations of I love you but if I cook for you, it’s because I love you. The next bit is figuring out how other people are saying it to me.