Food is one of the world’s universal communications; it provides insight into how people love and communicate affection. Food in many cultures plays a significant part in defining family roles and traditions. All around the world, we celebrate holidays with food, comfort ourselves and each other with food, and happily socialize. In this blog, let’s discuss the sixth love language - Food and the love of it.
What is the origin of the word Love or lufu?
The earliest known use of the word love is in the Oxford English Dictionary. It illustrated that this word is dated approximately 85 A.D, and love was used in the same manner it’s being used today i.e., familial, romantic, and religious or charitable.
The Seduction of Food
There’s that old saying about how the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. On Valentine’s Day, in the U.S. and abroad, lovers old and new celebrate their love, and in many cases, this includes a special meal prepared or bought by one lover for another. Food is hot, sweet, tempting, and everybody wants it. Food as seduction or an expression of love is nothing new. It has been featured in movies:
“Like No Reservations (2007)” starring Kate (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a perfectionist head chef at a New York restaurant whose world is turned upside down when she unexpectedly has custody of her niece and falls in love with a great guy and
the scene from the hit HBO show Insecure second season, where Kelli (Natasha Rothwell) invites a guy named ”Sweetie” to go with her and some friends to a food joint after a party gets steamy during dinner between the two.
According to Dr. Gary Chapman’s and his book, The 5 Love-languages, food could be the language that triggers feelings of being loved by others. In my opinion, the sixth love language would be FOOD! But how does the rest of the world express their love for food or through food?
The act of eating together is instinctually human. We ate raw meat and uncooked plants; then it was cooking over a fire. Oh, how we have evolved, but our attitudes about food and its role in life haven't changed over time. Our culture and location in the world play a part in our admiration for food. Growing up in North America - with my parents and siblings, we ate dinner that mom prepared. We ate dinner at the table together -no phone, TV, and the kids were forced to talk about our day. No questions were asked, and I was not too fond of those moments. As an adult, I still value home-cooked food, but now, those family dinners are very special to me.
Let’s look at two other regions around the world ---Europe (France) and Africa (Egypt). The reason I chose these countries is that I have visited and talked to people who are from there. I got to eat some of their cuisines, and I got to see their perspective on how food and meals tie their culture together.
Most French cuisine enthusiasts don’t just love the taste of French food, but the culture that embodies it. Food is sacred; When preparing a dish, the freshest, best quality ingredients one can afford are chosen. However, Another key component to why french cuisine is so highly regarded as great tasting is the sophisticated atmosphere. The French food journey begins at the market, which on most occasions are visited at least twice a week, sometimes every day, like the Paris Market Le Marché des Enfants Rouges. This marketplace was constructed in 1628 and is located in the Marais arrondissement neighborhood. I discovered there’s no one traditional French meal partly because French dishes are region-based and vary depending on where you are located. The main exception is breakfast foods that are usually light, sweet, and simple probably because it’s the least essential meal. The French dislike grazing, scrounging around in the fridge, grabbing a snack on the go, and soda. Throughout the regions of France, dining is both a pleasure and a deep-rooted ritual. UNESCO declared French gastronomy to be an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010. So what you can expect in France is that the meat comes directly from a butcher.
When it comes to Egypt, the first thing that usually comes to mind are pyramids, ancient temples, and the Nile River. Ancient Egypt is the beginning of civilization in the Mediterranean world. Egyptians were among the first groups to record events that happened in their lives. Surprisingly, all the details they provided include their love for food, as illustrated on wall paintings, tomb carvings, and temples. Many of these ancient foods are still eaten in Egyptian households today. Most ancient Egyptians were farmers, so peas, beans, cucumbers, dates, figs, and grapes were popular fruits and vegetables. Conversely, more affluent Egyptians lived very differently- a pattern among all cultures that continue throughout the world.
Egyptian cuisine is a mix due to geography. The Egyptian cuisine has been influenced by the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and Ottomans, so the traditional Egyptian meal combines these regions. Egyptians eat three meals a day and for breakfast, for the most part, they consist of bread, cheese (domiati), a staple in the Egyptian culture, olives, and a fried egg at home. Lunch is the main meal and what’s left is usually served as dinner. So like most Middle Eastern countries, a big part of Egyptian culture is gathering and celebrating with family and friends – around delicious food!
We all know about the importance of food in terms of nutrition, it is all over the news, and we obsess over one ingredient over another but have we lost the art of savoring food as a family? Food and drink offering has become an essential part of both hospitality and celebration across cultures. The fact is it is a daily necessity makes it a prime candidate for expressing love.
Has the pleasure of eating together come down to only being on special days and sometimes not even then?
Leave me a comment below and let me know the last time you expressed your love through food and sat down with your loved one to enjoy a delicious meal. Did you wear one of your favorite outfits? Style your hair differently? What did you order? Did you try something new? Did you share or eat off one another’s plate? Tell me all about it and you could win a complete set of kitchen utensils.
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“Food is the most important thing to share in a relationship because food is life. Without food, you die.”