There is a definite connection between food and feelings. Often if I’m stressed or lonely I find myself eating as a way to deal. In the same respect, food is my “language of love.” I don’t really buy into new agey crap like that, but my ex once babbled on about that book, 5 Love Languages. I don’t think he even read it but was more intrigued by the concept. Anyways, I am not sure what “languages” were listed there, but I know 100% that I show affection through food. Like an old Jewish grand-mother, if I like you, I am going to try to feed you. I know I really like a guy when I am brainstorming dishes to cook for him, or getting up early on a Sunday to bake a batch of cookies that will probably turn out like doorstoppers just because he mentioned he has an affinity for toffee. My preferred way of socializing revolves around cooking and eating, and I will admit openly that I judge people based around their commitment to a good meal. I simply can’t connect with the type of person who “forgets” to eat, because I am thinking about breakfast as I fall asleep.
I think this passion for feeding people is at best learned, if not completely hereditary. Both of my parents love to cook and show affection through food and worked in food service industries—my mother was a chef, my father the Maître d’ at a fancy country club. I am happiest when I am cooking for someone else—literally nourishing them.
That being said, I know I am in a bad place when I don’t want to cook at all. When I take a look at my month and realize I’ve been getting by on salads and smoothies, because my inspiration to cook has all but disappeared, I know I should probably do a bit of soul searching and figure out what my deeper issue is.
So many people have negative relationships with food. They eat to solve boredom or loneliness. They eat because they’re sad, or worse, they don’t eat because they’re sad. Eating disorders are developed based on feelings of self worth. Food is squared off into emotional categories—“good” or “bad.” Food addiction is a real, scary thing—possibly even more terrifying than alcohol or drug addiction because unlike booze and drugs, you need food to live. So while an alcoholic can swear off drink and work hard to avoid it, someone who is addicted to food still needs to eat to survive.
When I am emotionally eating I like to repeat mantras like “cookies are not a replacement for friends,” or “you are not going to be able to talk that bowl of guacamole into sleeping with you, and even if you could, it would be very messy to say the least.” It makes me giggle if nothing else. And if you haven’t been able to tell already, I am bat-shit crazy.