The connection between food and love, food and romance or food and marriage has been around since the dawn of time.
In Mesopotamian mythology, humanity is created to feed the gods. In the Biblical account of creation, it is God who serves the man whom He created by providing a garden of food.
At weddings, a cake is cut, symbolising that a Covenant has been cut between two parties. Bread is broken over the head of a bride in some culture symbolising fruitfulness while mugs of beer are raised by men as a symbol of victory.
This is to say nothing of the risque use of chocolate, peaches, red wine and whipped cream that seems to play a part in the sharing of our love with one another.
Our own language testifies to the powerful connection between food and friendship, between love and linguini, red wine and romance.
Take the word, ‘companion’. It means, ‘a friend’. The Latin root is made up of two words, ‘comp’, which means, ‘together and ‘panis’, which means, ‘bread’.
A companion is someone you break bread with. Someone you share food with.
It’s at the table that families and lovers unite. It’s also at the table, through the exchange of food, that families are betrayed, and lovers are forsaken.
How many of us have ever been sent from the table? Yes, food, and the sharing of our food, has also been instrumental – not only in the way we love – but also in the way we execute justice.
Food Heals, Food Gives Life
The Sera Kuli tribe of West Africa have a tradition that beautifully pictures the significance of the food we eat in its execution of Justice and the reconciliation of families.
In days of old, where a murder was committed, the accused was brought before representatives from both families.
The victim’s family would prepare a banquet involving the sacrifice of a lamb.
The guilty person would stand at one end of a field with his mouth held wide open. A third party, someone with no interest in the trial would take a piece of land and put it on the end of his spear.
He would then run across the field toward the accused person with his spear held high. He would charge up to the wide open mouth of the accused man.
At this point, one of two things would happen. Prior to the charge across the field, the family of the victim would decide whether to show mercy or execute Justice on the guilty murderer.
If the family decided to execute justice, they would inform the spear holder who would then drive the spear, lamb and all, straight through the mouth of the guilty man.
Both families would then depart to their own home, and the matter was considered finished; the guilty men having died for his sin.
If the family decided to show mercy, that same spear holder Woodstock just at the entrance of the guilty man’s mouth and their pop the piece of land into his mouth signifying reconciliation. Both families would then sit down together and share in the as a means of completing the process of reconciliation.
Similar stories can be read throughout the world, throughout history and across cultures.
Food is present in our most significant moments in life. It joins lovers and initiates friendships.
No Ordinary Love
Perhaps this explains, at least in some part, our continual interest in preparing beautiful food. We don’t want our food to be ordinary in the same way that we don’t want our love to be ordinary.
We want our food to taste and look delicious, which is not that different from what we hope for in our lovers, and I might add, not that different from how we wish to be perceived.
Compatible Food, Compatible Love
Have you ever wondered why people make such a fuss over combining different kinds of food, wine, etc? seriously, what’s all this talk about my white wine and my fish?
How is it that salt can go with caramel and chilli with chocolate? And what’s wrong with an oyster milkshake?
Just like our lovers we want our food to be compatible as well. We labour long and hard to find that perfect combination.
Four Food Moments That Might Bring the Romance Back
They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. This is not so much a comment about a woman’s need to provide food for her man as it is a comment about the impact that sharing our food and serving one another has on our love lives.
Thinking that your love life could do with a shot in the arm? Here are four “food moments” worth bringing back to the table.
When and Where
It not only matters that we eat together – if we want to stay together – it also matters when and where we eat. The rooms of our house are divided with purpose and function in mind.
Look around your home and look around your garden what environment do you want to enjoy your food, friendship and romance in?
Is it a secluded part of the garden or a quiet candlelit corner of the living room? Food is an occasion and, Like Making Love the time and place matter.
Wine Time is a Fine Time
Wine is a universal symbol of seduction. Wine has been central to the communion of those who practice religion as well as picturing forth the love and communion shared between one another.
Know how to choose your wine, whether it’s alcoholic or not, and know how to enjoy that wine together as an occasion in and of itself.
Serve a Hot Dish, Be a Hot Dish
There is something about a toasted sandwich that just doesn’t scream romance, and there is something about seafood that says, “come and get me.” I’m not sure why that is, but there you have it.
Are oysters an aphrodisiac? I don’t know. But a look at the short list of the most popular romantic dishes shows a trend. That trend includes white meats, seafood, citrus and salad.
Make it Sweat, Keep it Simple
Just as there are characteristics for a hot meal that are considered part of a romantic or communal environment, so it is true with desserts.
There is something about chocolates, strawberries, raspberries and cream. No doubt there are qualities in these kinds of foods that tend to engender love, affection and libido.
Like our taste in food over time, our love and our friendships can be fickle. Food is the most ancient and basic way we have come together as people. It is and has been a means of reconciliation, a means of sharing our affection, and a means of expressing charity and benevolence to our neighbour.
We have all been affected by the hospitality of others. We have rejoiced and been glad at the sharing of our food both at our own table and at the table of our friends and family.
Food is not only central to life because it sustains the body, but it is essential to life because it sustains the heart.
If you feel like the romance is dying (or, perhaps just sleeping) between you and the one you love, then maybe a little more attention to the food, might lead to a little more affection in the heart.
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