Liz Benigno

a view from the porch


liz benigno6 Comments


I like a full table. The sound of clinking glasses, noisy voices, the ums and yums as people eat. The long drawn out meal, the satisfied full belly and push back from the table at long last. Yep. Food equals love around here. I come from a long line of food=love people. Dinner at my growing up table was always late because we would never have dinner without my dad. My then boyfriend (now Dreamboat) would tentatively walk to the door and wonder "Are they fighting?" Nope. Just a big ol' noisy family enjoying a meal and conversation. Dreamboat would stand for hours in the kitchen and watch my mom cook. He asked a million questions and learned. Why the combo of butter and oil when browning works best, how to make bolognese, how to cut up a whole chicken with a cleaver... "Your mom uses a cleaver, a cleaver to cut chicken" he would say in awe. And she learned. She learned she liked this boy. She learned he was kind, and chatty and family oriented and maybe the one for her daughter. 

I once made a terrible mistake when it came to food. I was visiting on the phone with my mom, and Dreamboat was out for the night, so I made a snacky meal for Joanie and Joseph (then just four and three) and plopped them in front of the TV. When I got off the phone Joseph came up to me with tears clinging to his impossibly long lashes and said in a small wavering voice, "Popcorn does not equal love."  Oh goodness. Food genes run deep. Never made that mistake again. Fast forward~ I grieved Joseph going to college, not only for him, but for all the boys that would no longer be around the table. 

Joanie loves to cook (more food genes in action) and it makes me inordinately proud. Like embarrassingly proud. We can jabber for hours about recipes, what works, what doesn't, how to make it healthier. "What did you make for dinner this week?" is the standard opening question when we talk. But what makes me most proud is that Joanie isn't a foodie, she's a feeder. She delights in what food brings, people.

The table is a glorious place. It's crowded and loud and encouraging and intimate. And Holy. Here's the thing.  All of this actually has very little to do with food.  Food just happens to be the vehicle for saying, "I want to know your story. I want to comfort you, I want to celebrate you, I want to say I love you."

What do you do to say "love"? 

Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14