FOOD Is My Love Language

Feeding me well is the key to my heart.

Photo by Kate Remmer on Unsplash

I haven’t read The Five Love Languages, but I’m pretty sure all things food related is not one of them. In my book though, it’s at the top of the list.

All my favorite childhood memories involve food. I loved grocery shopping, and making dinner with my mom, or baking cookies for the family. My dad and I had a special bond, and we had some regular, food-related rituals.

There wasn’t a lot of junk food allowed in the house growing up, but every weekend, Dad would pick up the Sunday paper, along with a bag of Doritos. Together, we would read the paper, and share the bag of Nacho Cheese deliciousness, just the two of us. It was our thing.

Dad and I also took frequent trips to Dairy Queen. I’m not even sure if the other family members were invited, since I always remember it being just the two of us. We’d both get a vanilla ice cream cone, dipped in chocolate. Sweet.

Many years later, after I graduated college and had a place of my own, Dad and I still had frequent lunches. We had a favorite diner, and we’d both get the Reuben sandwich. Toward the end of his life, we’d go out for ice cream, or to his favorite — Old Country Buffet. Man, I miss my dad.

You see, I’ve always associated food with love and nurturing — with someone taking care of me, and wanting to see me happy. They say “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” — well, I would say the same holds true for this woman.

My most recent relationship started out on the right track. We met online, and typically these first “dates” just involve a drink or coffee, but this one led to dinner. On our second date, he brought over chocolates for me, and even treats for my dog! Swoon!

He was a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy though, with a very limited palate. Turns out there were very few restaurants he would agree to, and he was resistant to going anywhere new. He didn’t eat vegetables, and had never eaten a salad in his life.

I love to cook, and when I suggested a couple of my favorite meals — including the best lasagna ever — he was just like meh. So I never really cooked for him, except for breakfast, which he approved of.

We briefly discussed moving in together — buying a house. I would love a yard with a vegetable garden, but then thought about how he would never appreciate anything I grew, or prepared from the bounty. Where is the joy in that?

Oh, and I paid a lot when we went out, even though he made twice as much money. This is not how to make me feel cared for. I’m very generous in many ways, so just pay for my dinner. Please.

The relationship ended for a multitude of reasons, but the food thing would have always been a problem. It would have been a lifetime of compromise — for me, mostly.

Toward the end of that relationship, a friend was telling me how her boyfriend had started experimenting with making skyr, and sauerkraut, and that their kitchen had turned into a laboratory. I was extremely jealous. Call me weird, but I think any guy who makes his own skyr, is sexy as hell. I need a guy who makes skyr.

I need someone who wants to plan a vacation around where we’re going to eat, and who isn’t afraid to eat at a shack on the side of the road in Jamaica, or off a cart on a street in New York City.

At one point in my online dating adventures, I included in my profile: extra points if you know the difference between arrabiata and puttanesca (my two favorite pasta sauces). Most guys just googled (nobody came back with a proper response), and since the latter translates to “in the style of a prostitute” — well, suffice to say I had to extract that line. I didn’t find my dream foodie companion with that approach, unfortunately.

As a couple you spend a lot of time eating, or figuring out what or where to eat. That’s the fun part of being in a relationship for me. Exploring hole-in-the-wall joints, or getting dressed up and going to a fancy place — it’s all good. And sometimes you just want to eat ice cream in bed.

My longest relationship was with a similar foodie type, and I’m sure that had a lot to do with why we were together so long. We enjoyed shopping and cooking together, as well as exploring different restaurants. He was extremely generous, and would always be up for going anywhere I suggested. We traveled well together, and he wasn’t afraid of any type of cuisine.

We’ve recently reconnected, older and wiser. Our love of food has brought us back together for a few meals, so far — and perhaps it’s our love for each other, as well. Time will tell.

“I think careful cooking is love, don’t you? The loveliest thing you can cook for someone who’s close to you is about as nice a valentine as you can give.”~ Julia Child