“Food for the body it not enough. There must be food for the soul.” – Dorothy Day
Dorothy Day said it correctly. Food for the body is key to survive, but there must be food for the soul to truly feel fulfilled.
Food is what makes our bodies work. Then again, it does so much more than simply fuel us. Food gives us that feeling of fullness, contentment and being satisfied. It is the thing that brings people together. It helps us heal and is a place of comfort and coziness.
We are surrounded by food wherever we go. From weddings to funerals, birthday parties to the staff room, the mall and a simple date night, food is consistently with us along the way.
Every day, most people gather in a room or around a table to eat, meeting with family, friends, co-workers or even strangers to share in a meal. This is a time for discussion and sharing, a process which heals us and helps create special moments. These distinct moments stick with us, and we forget that food is what brought us there and enhanced that time.
Food is crucial to warm us on the coldest winter days and cool us from the hot summer sun. Soup, chili or hot chocolate in the winter, ice cream on a sunny day, popcorn while watching a movie, cake for a milestone, or turkey and stuffing on the holidays.
We may possibly look forward to the food prepared for special occasions more than the gathering itself. We recreate food experiences by making the same recipes year after year. During the holidays, the food prepared provides something individual to that moment or gathering. We look forward to enjoying the identical items because of what it represents, memories of gathering together and celebrating a unique moment, memories of family, friends, or someone special.
On the contrary, when we are feeling down or sick we look to food for comfort and healing powers. We desire that specific soup when we have a cold. It is the only thing that could possibly make us feel better. As a child with an injury like a scraped knee, the offering of a popsicle or one of mom’s homemade cookies brought us back into a moment of peace and calm. Food makes us feel healthier once more.
For me, the memories of gathering every Sunday in my grandparent’s house are the sweetest – the smells of potato soup simmering on the stove, a fresh batch of bread coming out of the oven, and a chicken roasting for dinner. These thoughts bring me to a place of happiness and safety, a place that I wish I could go back to and truly enjoy. These memories, brought to me by food, heal my soul and fill me with delight and gratitude for the past.
Whether it’s that holiday dinner or the birthday cake, there is a food item every individual eats that offers them comfort and a true feeling of gladness. Food is so much more than just food. It is fuel and the source of joyful memories and moments for everyone to share.
Melissa Hryb is the chef at Marion Street Eatery, where she specializes in hearty comfort food with a twist.
Follow her on Twitter @MarionStreetEat or Instagram @MarionStreetEatery