By Rhianna Evans, Third Year Classical Studies
The Croft Magazine // Whether it's anchoring us to the people and places we love, or allowing us to reach out and expand our horizons, the social power of food is undeniable. Rhianna Evans provides a glimpse of her relationship with cooking and eating, showing how food really is the sixth love language.
Food is a common denominator that unites every person on the planet. Like sleep and hydration, it is one of nature’s great equalisers: everyone needs to eat, which is perhaps why it is central to so many cultures and occasions. Regardless of our differences - faith, background, family dynamic: the list is endless - the act of cooking together or coming together to eat is one of the best ways to feel closer to the people around you, to find pleasure in the mundane with the people you love. Food can be an anchor; it can provide a sense of community, or warmth, or love, especially when times are tough.
When I moved to university, my mum and I decided to FaceTime on Sunday mornings so she could see how I was settling in and I could catch up on any news I was missing at home. And of course, thanks to the lazy nature of Sunday mornings, we almost always turned on our cameras in our pyjamas with a mug of coffee in one hand and a pastry in the other. We’d ask each other what little treat we were having that morning, and though we were hours and hundreds of miles apart, it almost felt like we were messing around in the kitchen back home together. It became a treasured tradition and we still talk over breakfast every weekend, without fail, pastries and all.
When things are happening in my friends’ lives - big or small, good or bad - I turn to food. If they’re celebrating a success or a milestone, I tend to bake; it’s rare that a week goes by when I’m not passing around cookies in the library or cupcakes at work. If they’re going through a time of stress, or grief, or heartbreak, I invite them over and make pasta bake or tacos or a risotto, and we sit and talk and split a bottle of wine. I’ve found that when you’re at a hard point in life, that’s when it’s most difficult to muster up the effort to cook yourself something halfway decent, and yet it’s the time when you’d benefit from it the most.
Making food for others - my friends, my family, my girlfriend - feels like offering up a little piece of my heart, like I’m giving them a hug served up on a plate. I’m not very good with verbal or physical affection - it’s always made me uncomfortable - but when I give them something I’ve put my time and effort and love into, it feels like the same thing. It allows me to express how much they mean to me in a way that I can’t communicate with words.
At the end of the day, I think making and sharing food will always hold connotations of home and love, from little reminders of taking turns mixing cookie batter with my sister, to laughing in the kitchen with my girlfriend as we try and make something edible out of the four items in my fridge. Food is something that connects me with other people, and other people to each other; it allows us to learn and grow and experiment and find our place in the world. Food can anchor us to the people and places we love, or allow us to explore and expand as far as we want.
[Copy Editor: Isabelle Pethick]
[Feature Image: Isabelle Pethick]