Have you ever had such a sensory experience with food, that it took you to a new place and back in a second?
If so, then you know what I mean when I say food isn’t something you taste, but something you experience.
I’m curious to know why this leap from the physical to the emotional happens. How can food have such a transcendent effect?
It’s like with me and my morning coffee. A cup of coffee at this point isn’t just about the stimulating effects of caffeine. Coffee, or the ritual of drinking it, belongs to my morning routine. All the steps involved in making it orient me into my day.
There is the food and then there is the feeling it evokes.
Just like with a good lasagna. I’ll cook it for hours and something in this process of chopping, roasting, and simmering feels so much grander than just cooking. I connect this whole process to much more than the fantastic taste but to a feeling of love for the ones I am about to delight.
I know access to food isn’t always a given for many of us on the planet. Food insecurity is still unfortunately a very real issue of our time. This sobering fact gives me a heartfelt appreciation for what I have and so, when I eat, I savour food with all my senses and a deep sense of gratitude.
I value that I can go to the market near our home, buy fresh ingredients and make nutritious meals for my family. Food appreciation for me isn’t about fancy food or having a meal with many different bombastic flavours. Sometimes it’s just a tasty 2-ingredient meal or it’s a smell or a comforting texture that awakens our hearts.
Like with some fresh bread I made. While it was hard to wait for it to cool down, I took a decidedly slow moment to enjoy it lukewarm with just a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. With my eyes closed, I inhaled the scent. The sound and taste as the crust broke at my first bite were nothing short of making culinary magic with comfort food.
And the real magic? My whole family immediately gathered around the table in excitement!
Just as with food so it is with life – sometimes the simple things are the most sublime.
In my travels, I’ve seen that from culture to culture there is the glorious tradition of dipping bread, or dough of some sort, into a delicious, slow-cooked sauce. It’s almost like a ritual.
Food can offer immense flavour but also the opportunity to connect deeply with ourselves. It can give us visions of who we once were and who we can be, together.