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Nothing Like the Sun #5 - On Food

Was it one cup? Or maybe a cup and a half? I don’t think I’ve ever truly known the measurements of anything I’ve ever cooked, and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever really cared. With the memory of a goldfish, even when I’ve had full recipes open on my laptop over the holidays, I’ve often immediately forgotten whether I was meant to do a “dash” or a “sprinkle” of cinnamon and I’ve more often than not refused to take the extra step away from the counter to double check. Thus, every apple pie, mulled wine, lemon bar, and cookie I’ve ever baked and gifted have been maybe 50% online recipes and 50% me simply baking with love.

A few days ago, while at a Friendsgiving, my lovely friend Anna made me an elderflower and pink gin drink. As she was pouring it into my goblet, she said that she would measure the portions “with her heart.” And I think that in those few words, she may have encapsulated what it means to love through food and cooking.

There is such intimacy in “here, I made this for you.” But I think there is even more compassion in deviating away from a prescriptive recipe and adding a little extra sugar or salt depending on who you’re cooking for. The act of cooking then so quickly becomes a radical act of loving. The dish becomes a landscape for the intersection of the chef and the consumer, just as much as it becomes a gift.

And so, with potluck season among us, I got to thinking about how every gathering that presents us with an amalgamation of different dishes and love stories—among friends, families, and maybe even strangers.

Literary food theory explores food as a method of meaning, friendship, and bond making. It often conceptualizes food as a means by which we navigate our world and relationships. When we stop thinking about food as the manual act of chewing and sustaining, and instead replace this mentality by considering each dish as a collection of ingredients that someone purchased, assembled, and got to our tables, the very act of eating becomes imbued with so much more emotion and intention.

The apple pies on our tables, the mince pies decorating our counters, the curries, and candies that we buy and cook and share this holiday season then become not only objects but also stories in and of themselves that we read, consume, eat, and cherish.

If you’d like to share one of your tiny moments that revealed a big idea about love, feel free to contribute to the “Nothing like the Sun” column by emailing .


Edited by Noor Hatimy, Sex and Relationships Editor

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