Food Is Love

Reader Contribution by Mary Lewis
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“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
? J.R.R. Tolkien

It seems as though people have become disconnected from food. It’s either a need or an enemy, depending on how you feel about it. “What’s for dinner?” has become an anxiety inducing question for many folks. It doesn’t have to be a difficult subject.

Food is a universal language. We all have to eat to survive, but I’d rather eat to live.

Almost every holiday centers around food. I’ve known people to be planning their Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts half an hour after they’ve eaten the current one. Food is the thing we offer to people when they’re celebrating, hurting and every moment in between. It’s how we show love and care.

As a mother of four, one of the promises I made to myself was that my kids would know the very basics of cooking and know how to create at least one dish they would be proud to serve to their friends. All four of them have attained those skills. Lately, I have been receiving requests for recipes. My 28-year-old son asked for my Apple Crisp recipe and my 30-year-old daughter just asked for my Shepherd’s Pie recipe over the weekend. My 22-year-old son requested the one for Pot Roast. It occurred to me that passing down my recipes is an act of love.

My mom has sent me copies of recipes that belonged to her mom. My husband has recipes that belonged to his great-grandmother. The dishes we grew up with bring us back to a time that, hopefully, makes us feel secure and loved. The way we create food is a legacy and a source of connection and comfort.

Food is also a tribute to our family culture. My husband’s and my ancestry are both in the general UK area, predominantly Irish and English. He’s a meat and potatoes guy, whereas I’m much more likely to experiment with new foods. Having said that, if someone puts Cottage Pie in front of me, you can bet I’m going to eat it and truly enjoy it.

The easiest way to share recipes is to create a family cookbook. I’m working on one now, and I thought I’d share the process. You’ll need a one 1/2“ three ring binder to begin with. There are some affordable, adorable cookbook binders on the market, so if you’re looking for one, Google recipe binder. The rest of what you’ll need follows.

Make Your Own Cookbook


  • 1 1/2 inch 3 ring binder
  • Sheet protectors
  • Paper


  1. Print out or make copies of recipes you want to share
  2. Slip them into the sheet protectors
  3. Add them to the binder

It’s that simple. The great thing about creating your own cookbook is you can add to it. Or, if a recipe isn’t to your liking, you can change it, or get rid of it completely. My cookbook is bursting at the seams right now with all of the recipes I’ve added to it over the last fifteen years. I’ll probably weed it out on a cold snowy day in January.

Food is a gift, not only because it nourishes our bodies, but our souls as well.

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