My mother realized the importance of good food in bringing people together and, from before I can remember, tasty and filling meals were a constant. They were accompanied by a steady rotation of friends and family, strangers and neighbors, and everyone else that she could feed.
Food has always been a way of community coming together. When we think of the best times of our lives they are almost always surrounded by those we love… and meals. From the church picnic to the wedding buffet, dinner parties and drinks with friends, family reunions and first dates, birthdays and milestones are all celebrated with food… and people. When people gather food and drink is necessary but more importantly it’s desirable. It encourages us and relaxes us, it breaks the ice and gives us something to do with our hands in the awkward moments of life.
Living alone as a single person has been a weird transition for me in the department of feeding people. Growing up we had people over after church, the parents hosted dinner parties and it was all prescribed. Figuring out how to invite people over to my own place was more intimidating. Knowing that they were a couple and I was single sometimes really made me uncomfortable, or inviting guys over and fearing they would think it was a date, having groups over… somehow it was all new and different. Even though, really, it was the same. Turns out, finding people to cook for was easier than I thought. People love to be fed. They love to be invited over, to have a fuss made about them, to bring a loaf of bread or a bottle of wine to feel like they are contributing. It isn’t hard to find people to feed. Once you start feeding them- getting rid of them is the real problem you’ll face.
We want to live life communally. I believe we were designed for that, but you can see it’s a desire in all of us when you look at what we spend our time on. Social media is going gangbusters not because we want more ways for the internet to advertise to us. Or because we can’t remember what we ‘like’ without someone tracking it for us. It seems to be more about how it connects us to our community. It lets us share with everyone and anyone the smallest details of our lives as well as the large and life altering decisions we make. While the pros and cons of constant attention to our own struggles and achievements or the mundane matters of others lives can be argued strongly either way I think what it proves is that we desire to share ourselves with others.
It doesn’t have to be fancy to make you feel accomplished. It doesn’t have to be perfect for your guests to be impressed. We’re over whelmed by pintrest ideas when really people just love good flavors with people they want to get to know. That’s not to say things won’t go wrong! The smoke detector will go off at some point, the dessert will be unimpressive and tasteless, or all of your dishes will be done at different times. Still it seems worth the effort. And the disasters all make for good stories and closer friendships.
Find some people you want to get to know. Cook for them. You can’t go wrong.