There are myriad ways to express love and none is better than the other. Much depends on timing and personality and intention. But one of the most common and most powerful ways is though labor--or, to be more descriptive, through making an effort beyond one's own self-concern.
And the kitchen is a perfect place for this labor of love to be expressed.Food is more than the sum of its nutritional and caloric counts. It's a whole web of events that have come together: energy from the sun and earth, from the growers and pickers and truck drivers and grocery store workers. It's the forces of nature like weather, forest fires, early thaws and nibbling deer. It's the time and energetic engagement of the cook and the gratitude (or not!) of the eater.
When we're young, we know no bounds to our energy and we think its limitless. As we grow older and that energy shifts and fades, we appreciate more deeply what it means to give some of it over to benefit another. When we labor in behalf of someone else, we are literally giving them some of our lifeforce, our precious energy. Whether it's the day-in-and-day-out of three meals on the table (Happy Mother's Day!) or that first special home cooked meal for a new lover, food is an offering, a powerful vehicle for a powerful message: I care about you. I will sustain you.
Who or where or what has your labor and love gone to today? Did you give it freely or was there some (known or unknown) bargaining going on? Or maybe you have a story about receiving the gifts of someone's love and labor.
(Image: Dana Velden)