Whether I’m catching up curbside with a neighbor or fielding text messages from friends, one of the pleasures of being a known food nut is hearing the day-to-day cooking stories and anxieties of those around me. My association with food and the comfort of cooking with friends and neighbors makes me a magnet for their culinary exploits. Our cooking conversations come in many forms, traditional and less so.
Texts, e-mails and Facebook messages arrive throughout the week. I’m their cooking Ann Landers as they seek advice, share insecurities and then report in with the results. I receive snapshots of fresh baked bread, quiches and colorful platters of grilled farm vegetables, with proud notations of their food successes.
Then there are gifts of food arriving at my doorstep — a box of homemade chocolate chip cookies as a farewell gift, a jar of peppered jelly, a loaf of artisan bread. These are another form of food conversation and I typically respond by placing something homemade on their front stoop.
I think of friends on vacation — a jug of honey, a bag of sea salt or jar of piri piri sauce — to share upon my return and they think of me. I’ve received maple syrup and Cheddar cheese from Vermont, olive oil from Italy and Marmite from England.
These snippets include me in other people’s lives, even if I am far away. It’s an added dimension to my life and community in food. And I love every bit of it!