The universal love language
Growing up, I always knew my family loved one another. There was never any doubt. We were just not as verbal or as affectionate as some other families.
However, when I met my husband, I knew instantly he was the hugging type. Despite this behavior, I still fell for him. On the flip side, I won him over through his appetite. I try not to take offense to this as I am sure I may have a few other characteristics that attracted him, but I have to be honest, food is without a doubt MY love language. You are more likely to get sandwich, a bite of pasta, or a pork chop out of me than a hug. I love company and entertaining, just please, please, don’t take it personally if I don’t embrace you at every encounter. I may have perfected my pasta sauce but I am still working on my social graces.
So, one can only imagine how I felt when I went in for foot surgery hoping for a simple fix with only a little time off and came out of the surgery with the worst-case scenario — a fused foot joint, six weeks non-weight bearing and 12 weeks recovering in a boot. OK, I can do this, I tell myself. I have overcome many hurdles in my lifetime. This is just another hiccup. A few days outside of the kitchen might actually do me some good, right? Well, as simple as it sounds a few days may be weeks or months of quality cooking time lost as gravity is your worst enemy of any lower extremity surgery. Keep the swelling to a minimum they say. What? I want a hot lunch!
As much as I have always declared my love language to be that of food, (validating my lack of participation in engaging in awkward hugging situations) I recently learned it is not just mine to claim. Over the past few weeks this became abundantly clear to me. Humble, grateful and blessed are just a few of the many feelings overwhelming me this past month as day after day friends and family showed up at my front door patiently waiting for me as I rolled up on my scooter. Hot meals, homemade soups, comforting casseroles and salads with homemade dressings arrived daily. Both of our refrigerators were quickly jam-packed with enough food to feed a small army.
Any anxiety I had of keeping my family well-fed during my initial recovery quickly diminished as plate after plate of lovingly prepared meals showed up at our doorstep. We devoured daal, an Indian lentil and tomato stew over brown rice, chicken schlup, sautéed chicken, and veggies with a creamy Thai peanut sauce, chicken barley vegetable soup, homemade macaroni and cheese (kids say more please!), baked orzo with fontina Cheese, saucy porcupine meatballs, braised beef in white wine over noodles, (a familiar recipe), locally made favorite pork and chicken tamales, chicken fiesta soup, dozens of homemade sausage and egg breakfast burritos and homemade chocolate chip bread. Hot breakfasts were once again satisfying feasts, lunches were packed with warm, nourishing foods and dinner was a snap.
Languages of love may differ from one to another and many of us may not think of food as one, but I’d like to declare it as such. In my opinion, and I think many of you would agree, there is no better compliment or feeling of love when someone opens up their home to you and shares a meal.
Our lives depend on food. It’s an unpolitical, undeniable common bond we all share. You may not like mushrooms (shame on you) but I am sure you can find mutual interests in the area of cooking and food with just about anyone. That being said, when someone takes the initiative to go above and beyond to bring you a homemade meal, take it from me, be as quick as you can to answer the door. You may even find that you have discovered some new family favorites, just as we did.