Like many people, I equate making meals, desserts and sweets with giving love and comfort to my family. When it’s cold outside, I usually make soup or stew along with home-made bread (from the bread machine) and some kind of dessert. When I googled this idea, a lot of cooking comfort food came up, but I couldn’t find anything on cooking with love. In the movie Simply Irresistible, the main character is able to change the food she cooks by her mood; thereby sharing her own happiness and sadness with the people who eat at her restaurant. This is an extreme example of how emotion may affect the food you are serving. But I wonder why there aren’t any studies on this.
In the Chinese culture certain foods have symbolic meaning; for example eggs symbolize fertility and are eaten to celebrate the birth of a child. http://chinesefood.about.com/od/foodfestivals/tp/foodsymbolism.htm Sometimes the food included within a meal can symbolize different things. This is something that I don’t think that we do here in America. However, most of us eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day and ham on Christmas Day. In my family we always had Limpa bread at Christmas to celebrate our Swedish heritage. I’m sure that other cultures have certain foods that they eat on certain days also, but this is not really what I’m talking about. In ancient civilizations including Rome, the rule of hospitium privatum (hospitality) was such that even if your worst enemy came to your door seeking food and comfort, you were to provide it to him and do everything within your power to keep him safe. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/secondary/SMIGRA*/Hospitium.html
One of the most loving things you can do is to feed someone. Often-times at the end of the day, creating a meal is the last thing that you may want to do. But, I’m talking about those nights when you have some time and can create a meal that shows how much you value and love your family. It’s at those times that the meal becomes almost a magical experience.