Nurturing Family

Food is love.

Food is love. Well, not literally, but we all know the power of food as a way of expressing love. Most of us have positive memories around a certain food or connect a positive experience with the food that was served. My family has great traditions related to food. Christmas cookies must include Walnut Frosties and German Pepper Cookies (Pfefferneusse). Easter always includes ham in some form. The fourth of July has to have burgers and dogs.

What’s amazing is that it’s really not about the food. Close your eyes a moment. Breathe in deeply. Think about the smell of an apple pie freshly baked or chocolate chip cookies cooling on the counter or any other favorite food. What do you feel?

Humans have an uncanny ability to not just remember facts, but also to remember emotions. When we come together with family or friends, these events often include food. As we engage in closeness with our loved ones, we come to associate the taste, texture, and smell of the food with that memory. More importantly, when we have repeated positive and loving experiences with the same food, that food can become a direct expression of love.

One of my greatest joys in life comes every Friday night. All my family members who live in the same town come together over a meal for visiting and supporting each other. We rotate who hosts each week. Sometimes the food is simple Midwestern fare. Other weeks, we try something new and exciting like Spicy Jambalaya. The food doesn’t matter. It’s the love we share with each other as we break bread together.

Each family tends to have food traditions that express love. What traditions does your family have? We would love to hear from each of you!

Contributed by Liz Hunt

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