I was recently talking with a colleague about charcuterie boards. We were discussing their appeal and why people make them. Aside from them basically being lunchables for grown ups, there seems to be a deeper, perhaps symbolic reason charcuterie boards have become so popular. “Food is a love language,” my colleague asserted. That idea stuck with me.
But it’s not just making the food--it’s the way we present it. In other words, arranging it in an aesthetically pleasing way that tells your loved ones that you care.
Before I go on, let’s review the concept of “Love Languages” with tacos:
Simply put, Love Languages are ways that we express our love to others. These can be overlooked by someone looking for more traditional cues--such as verbal expressions of one’s affection or physical touch--so it’s helpful in any relationship to pay attention and recognize when someone is making the effort to be kind and loving in a meaningful way.
That made me reflect on the ways I express my love to others. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a crappy gift-giver. I hate shopping, so I default to gift cards. Boring, I know. And I am not one to dish out a lot of compliments or words of affection, so I can seem cold at times. I’m trying to improve on my words of affection, but it’s a work in progress.
But then I thought about my love of food and how I share that with others. I think about what will taste good together, what extra flavors and nutrients I can add to make the most of it, and how to make it look appealing. I can’t just slop the food on a plate. It has to look inviting. We’re visual creatures, after all.
Eggs en Cocotte, a French dish that my kids love.
Homemade Poke bowls: a special treat for everyone.
So how do I display my love? It instinctively comes through service, hands down. I will gladly spend my time in the kitchen, creating something special that will make my loved ones feel nourished, adding my own small touches in what I make to show others that I care. Whenever my friends or family eat something I make--whether it’s a burrito, a charcuterie board, or a salad, they can rest assured that I put my heart into that meal.
“Always be a little kinder than necessary.”--James M. Barrie
We never know what struggles people are going through. Despite our efforts to be “fine” and smile when we’re supposed to, people are grappling with some very difficult situations. Everyone is fighting their own battles. This isn’t the grief Olympics--we are not competing for who is suffering more than others--but it’s important to treat all people with compassion.
Amelie and Finn showing off their symmetry. Lilo enjoying her daily belly rubs in the sun (her happy place) .
Current Read: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Noelle Stevenson’s graphic novel, Nimona, was such a rad book. It’s a fantastical adventure story about a shapeshifter and a misunderstood villain teaming together to fight the truly evil forces in their world. I loved the humor, and Nimona is such a fun, lovable protagonist despite her flaws. It has a Stranger Things meets grown up Adventure Time vibe in a Medieval/Sci Fi setting. It’s super random, but it really works!
Whenever I’m stuck on a given project, I’ve found it helpful to switch to another creative task or even another activity altogether. It also has been very challenging to find time to write at all as a parent. My kids definitely keep me busy, so I find myself working around their schedule and stealing time (even if it’s just 5 or 10 minutes) whenever I can. I thought I’d have more time for things as they got older, but I was very wrong (silly, naive me). However, I’ve gotten better at accepting the fact that this is a very chaotic time in my life. *shrugs* Sorry not sorry, universe. I’m doing the best that I can.
When the stars align and I have a good chunk of quiet time, I brainstorm other stories and write ideas down for them. It’s nothing super structured: I set a timer and list dialogue and thoughts and images as they come, which I will organize later. I just need to mine the raw material from my mind first in a writing “sprint.”. When I get stuck at the keyboard, it really helps to go for a walk or a run (a very slow one, haha). That seems to unclog my writers’ block. I highly recommend switching gears if you’re struggling with a writing task.
The fig trees have come through with a ton of fruit! Yay! We all LOVE figs, so we’re excited to eat them. Also, the grapes are ripe now and very sweet. I’m glad we have some healthy fruit to snack on all day.
That's all for now, but stay tuned for next month's updates. In the meantime, feel free to reach out and say “hello!” :)