Have you ever breathed in a symphony of aromas from someone's kitchen or beheld a plate of food so beautiful you almost didn't want to eat it? Ever savored such a carefully crafted bite of flavor that you never wanted the meal to end?
More specifically (and importantly), have you ever been served a meal and knew with no explanation beyond the meal itself that its creator loved you?
I hope so. Because I think that's how meals were meant to be be experienced. Maybe not every single meal of our lives, but most of them.
And if you've experienced any of the things mentioned above, chances are it's because the person creating that meal for you did so as an act of love. Spice combinations chosen as carefully as notes on a scale. Beautiful sear of fish created as delicately and precisely as the stroke of a brush against canvas. Every action designed to stir up affections and cause delight.
At least that's how it works for me.
I will never compose music that stirs your soul or create a painting or sculpture that brings a tear to your eye. I might write a few letters that make people smile, but none of them will be studied 100 years from now for their lyrical prose or brilliantly crafted turns of phrase. I am not an artist in any of those ways.
But I can pay attention to the people I love and learn their preferences. I can notice the way someone's eyes light up when they see certain ingredients in front of them. Or the way a precious friend instantly relaxes when she sees that I have her favorite tea in my pantry and hears the kettle whistle. Or maybe my favorite-- the delighted reaction I get to witness when I somehow rebuild a memory on a plate. So much fun!
Not just meals. Not just calories to use for fuel. Not even just enjoyable flavors. Food that says, "I notice. I'm paying attention. I care about you. I want you at my table. I love you."
Edible love letters.