Food. Comida. Cibo. 食品. Nourriture. Such an important, essential part of life which easily forgoes embellishment and recognition, disguised right under the nose as something flat and necessary only to outlive the next set of the sun. Really, food is one of the most powerful forces, second to love, its handheld partner in nourishment.
Food is also perhaps one of the most nuanced concepts: three meals a day, snacking, allergies, vegetarianism, Paleo, lactose-free, GMOs, cinnamon-y graham cracker, smoldering basil tea, strawberry ice cream. Comida nourishes more than the stomach and fulfills more needs than survival, sending a dart of pleasure straight to the heart.
Often, food is the foundation of social gatherings, the anchor that serves as a shield against the elephant who wishes to enter the room, comforting guests with the creaminess of macaroni-and-cheese, the Thanksgiving-ness of sweet potatoes, and the comfort of chamomile tea. Just as to people, we tie emotions, thoughts, and behaviors to food. Cibo nurtures the heart just as people do. It maintains a tenderness in slashing through facades, stripping down humans to their bare necessities, to truth. Food is the most basic physiological need, perhaps the one commonality and absolute truth among all. On that basis, when we are stripped to our one basic, true need, relationships stem; eating becomes fun and blossoms beyond the physiological. It is a common denominator, a sense of identity among the living that promotes confidence and contentment upon need fulfillment, which exposes human authenticity, throwing deceit clamoring out the window.
Food receives similar treatment to humans. Picky eaters, those who pluck and discard tomatoes from a salad, reveal a sense of close-mindedness, while those who eat cow liver and handfuls of slimy anchovies emit a sense of radical open-mindedness. Additionally, the ability to overlook the cover of the book and appreciate the pages-think: eating cow tongue or cats translates into a sense of non-judgement and a welcoming, understandable person.
Nourriture has united for decades. In Italy, food is the background key of social gatherings. In Mexico, every other sentence from the host is, “Would you like to try this?” Why do first dates usually involve dinner, or at least coffee? Why do families place such a large value on dining together?
Food is much more than mere aliment; it is a hobby to be maintained and cultivated. Because we have the luxury to choose, food becomes a sort of identity-pescetarian, pollotarian, flexitarian, oh my! 食品 sneakily slithers into our hearts, giving us the freedom of choice and the comfort of the past. It becomes something we hold dear, something that fulfills our emotional cup. At the end of a rough day, a cozy grilled-cheese sandwich and fluffy tomato bisque dissipates bad thoughts, replacing negative emotions, if only for as second, with comfort.