Food: More Than for Eating

A new crock-pot, rice cooker and hand mixer sit above the cabinets in our kitchen. A brand new, still unused food processor is tucked in a corner between an end table and a kitchen table. My husband and I live in a small 1 bedroom apartment and the kitchen (refrigerator, sink, and stove) is built into one side of its hallway. The other side is a wall and the door to our bedroom. Cabinet space is scarce, as is counter space. We make it work though and, when time allows, cooking is one of our favorite hobbies to do together despite the space limitations of our hallway kitchen.

When we first started dating, we decided to make homemade potato pancakes together. I didn’t even have a stand-up grater, just a small hand-held one that is more meant for shredding cheese more than anything else. Making the potato pancakes took double the time we anticipated, but it was time we spent together, getting to know one another. Food is a part of our relationship: making food, eating food, and even talking about food.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why, when we aren’t sure what we want to watch on TV, we’ll search for a food show to watch. They are not only enjoyable to watch, but they introduce us to new cuisines, educate us about food and food prep, and inspire us to try new flavors – to be bolder, more comfortable with our own cooking, which is especially important given our dairy and gluten restrictions.

Some of our favorites food shows to watch include Chopped, Good Eats, Cutthroat Kitchen, and Parts Unknown. Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown episode about Thailand was an undeniable influence on our decision to visit Chiang Mai during our honeymoon to the country. It’s also where I realized my food bravery is far less than my new husband’s.  I may have tried durian (a fruit that when opened smells like dirty socks) but I drew the line at eating insects – he, on the other hand, went for it.  Luckily we never came across a restaurant serving the blood soup Mr. Bourdain eats on the episode.

Food – it fills our bodies with nutrients, and our minds with memories so strong they become a part of not just what we eat, but how we relate and connect to others. Food is a central to so many families and traditions. It unites new friends and can build relationships between strangers. Trying foods, especially those unfamiliar or from a different culture, is a way to reach beyond ourselves and embrace the beauty of our differences.  I hope that the food my husband and I make, serve, and eat as we grow as a couple not only serves to strengthen our relationship, but that we, as people, are enlightened, continually, through the diverse flavors and food of our vast world.