In 1995 Gary Chapman released a book called The Five Love Languages. It outlines the five ways that we as humans can express and experience love. The book goes on to theorize that we each have specific ways that we are able to best express our love and in return we have preferences as how we most feel loved. Chapman says that each of us has a primary and secondary love language and that we can better help our partners feel loved when we recognize their own personal preferences. The book, which has been on the New York Times bestseller list continuously since August of 2009, proposes the following five love languages:
#1 – Gift Giving
#2 – Quality Time
#3 – Words of Affirmation
#4 – Acts of Service
#5 – Physical Touch
I propose a 6th Love Language. It is without a doubt my primary love language. It is FOOD!
As long as I can remember, making food and sharing it with others has been one of my greatest joys in life. When I was about ten years old I dug out the family copy of the Betty Crocker cookbook and made dinner for my Mom and Dad one night all by myself. I still remember what I made: lemon chicken, orange carrots, and au gratin potatoes. My Mom still has the menu I drew up for the event, complete with the recipe for a Brandy Alexander. What can I say? There’s always been a little chef inside me even if I didn’t choose to pursue cooking as a profession.
Through the years many friends and family members have enjoyed my handiwork and often asked, “Why don’t you open your own restaurant?” The answer is always the same…
BECAUSE I’M NOT INSANE!
I’ve thought about opening up my own place a few times through the years. In fact, just the other day I was telling one of my mangers that I was seriously interested in buying the old Casey’s in New Buffalo a number of years back when it was up for grabs. I even had an investor more than ready to jump on board. I just didn’t want to go down that path. Then sure enough, just this week, another iconic New Buffalo restaurant went on the market. It’s like I’m being haunted by the chef ghosts just as Halloween approaches, but my answer is still the same: Mostly No…
The reason I love cooking so much and the reason the things that I make for my loved ones taste so good is because I don’t HAVE to do it. I WANT to do it, and it is in the wanting to do it that I can infuse everything I make with a little extra love!
I’ve noticed that recently I’ve been enjoying cooking even more. Perhaps the most I’ve ever enjoyed cooking. It doesn’t hurt matters that fall is the best cooking season of the year AND that I have a very appreciative wife at home who is all too willing to sit back and enjoy the fruits of my cooking efforts. As much as I like eating out, my theory is that I can usually do it just as good at home at less than half the price. At the risk of sounding a bit immodest, my homemade versions are usually even better.
This weekend we’ve already had homemade mac and cheese, homemade BBQ chicken, and homemade blueberry pancakes. Tonight I’m making a madeira wine braised pot roast with mashed potatoes and roasted acorn squash. Sometimes people say to my wife Christiana that she is the luckiest lady in the world that she gets so spoiled with my good food all the time. My answer to that is that I am the luckiest guy in the world! For God’s sake, she’s carrying my daughter inside her! I’ve been waiting my whole life to be a daddy and I could never cook enough food to repay her for that gift. And just like that it dawned on me why I’m enjoying cooking more than I ever have before. It’s because I’m already cooking for three!
Each time Christiana sits down and eats the food that I have prepared with love, she can feel our little daughter doing what she calls “a little happy dance” in her belly. How lucky am I? I’m already getting to enjoy showing our little girl how much I love her in the way I most enjoy showing love: through food!
According to Chapman, cooking for your partner and friends would be classified under the category Acts of Service. I’ve spent the majority of my life working in the service industry and trust me, there’s nothing that gives me more pleasure from a work standpoint than providing great service. When it comes to making food for my wife and my daughter it goes way beyond acts of service though. Making and sharing food is a celebration of life that has been handed down from generation to generation through all of time.
Last year my mom gave me the pot that my dad’s mom used to use to make pot roast when my dad was growing up. It’s an old pewter sauce pan. It’s nothing fancy, but to think that it has been around for almost 100 years makes it extra special. The chuck roast I bought today wouldn’t fit in the little pan, but I decided I would use it to make the pan gravy after I pulled the roast out my fancy Le Crueset dutch oven and bring a few other generations of Herberts into the mix on this magical night.
I sure do love carrying on the tradition of showing my love through food. It’s a love language that clearly has been in my family for many generations and I’d love to stick around and tell you a lot more stories, but I’ve gotta run now. It’s almost dinner time and it looks like another happy dance is just around the corner…