The other day, Luke posted the below on Facebook:
“I always thought the saying “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” was a dumb cliché. Then I caught myself smiling in my heart when I was heating up my lunch today thinking “I love my woman. She keeps me alive. There’s love in this food”.”
It got a ton of likes, not just because it’s sweet but also, I imagine, because it’s true. Courtney (the aforementioned woman who made the food) and I have talked about this before. It’s not so much a big deal that we don’t always get to sit down to dinner with the dudes in our lives, it’s that the meals we do make for them mean something other than just another pile of stuff to put in their mouths.
Luke doesn’t cook much and Graham cooks at work, so as part of our separate co-habiting agreements, Courtney and I are the ones who cook in our houses. It’s a responsibility that we both take seriously, and not only undertake each day in the interest of food that tastes good, but also food that is healthy, and nourishing, and that will provide the people we love with sustenance beyond frozen stoner pizzas and gummy worms.
My comment on Luke’s status was “I would get away with a hell of a lot less if I didn’t keep Graham in snacks and leftovers.” Which is not entirely true, at least not the part that sounds sexist. I don’t really “get away” with anything because I’m a grown-ass lady and I do what I want. But like I mentioned, part of our co-habiting agreement – albeit an unspoken and not always consistent on the nights when I eat chips and salsa for dinner by myself – is that I’m the one who cooks. And when I cook, I want to spend my time and effort (and money, because although a lot of food does grow on trees, I still have to exchange legal tender for it at the store) on not just the food, but a way to show my love. I love you. I care for you. Here’s a casserole containing less sodium and a secret amount of vegetables.
It’s part of my background. Probably part of Courtney’s, too. I’ve warned friends who meet my father that they will be asked repeatedly if they’ve had enough to eat, and shown repeatedly where more food can be found should they desire seconds or thirds. This kind of “love = food” attitude gets a bad rap in nutritionist circles, where “more = bad” and nobody understands how good cheese tastes, apparently.
It makes me hugely proud when Graham tells people that I’m a good cook. It’s not really that other people will know it (I assume that those whose opinions I truly care about have eaten or will eat my food, anyway), it’s that when he says this, I know that he knows that I was thinking of him while I was cooking. That when he’s sitting on the couch at 3am after work, he knows that whatever it is he’s dug out of the fridge was made partly with him in mind.
As he likes to remind me, he’s an adult and he does what he wants. I don’t want to tell him what to do with his life and I can’t control what he eats or drinks when he’s away. But what I think he knows, what I always think of, and what Luke was describing (if not consciously) was that perfect bit of Silent Bob-coined wisdom from Clerks:
“You know, there’s a million fine-looking women in the world, but they don’t all bring you lasagna at work. Most of them just cheat on you.”