Both of my parents grew up poor and both loved to not only cook but serve and share food. Ma delighted in huge desserts, and anytime people were over, Dad could be found in the kitchen, slicing up cheese and summer sausage. After every meal, Dad would ask, “Did you get enough to eat?” Of course I did, or I’d have taken more!
But now that is one of my most used questions, too.
In college, “Did you get enough to eat?” would be coupled with another phrase: “Food is love.” Some friends taught me that, and it was an important part of our group, the sharing of food.
I worry when I have guests over that I won’t have enough food or that what I make won’t be good enough. There’s a potluck at work tomorrow, and I’m bringing three different foods just in case. Maybe it’s a little weird to say I love my coworkers, but at the very least, I want to make sure they have a nice lunch.
This question and this statement seem a little desperate. “Did you get enough to eat?” stems from Dad’s hungry childhood, and though I have more than enough now, I’m re-enacting that poverty. And in a more positive and negative light, this sounds like I’m fishing for compliments. “Oh yes, I had plenty, it was so delicious, can’t eat anymore!”
And my friends and I are adults. If someone wants more, they are able to ask for it or get it. These aren’t children who need me to get something from a high shelf. But I ask and I worry.
We receive so many conflicting messages about food: we need to eat less of this, more of that, boycott this, be “good,” indulge. Whatever those messages are, we need food. And if we need it, why not make it wonderful?