In times gone by, we used to depend on our community for survival. Even just a generation ago it was standard practice to load up the fridges of the bereaved with casseroles and pies, to shower new parents with meals that were destined to be eaten gratefully over the kitchen bench, and to welcome new families to the neighbourhood with plates of scones.
Things have changed. Those of us who live in big cities are becoming especially isolated. We spend our evenings separated only by apartment walls, and yet we barely say a word in the elevator. In doing so, we have reduced our support networks and become disconnected from one another.
It can be hard to reach out to your community, but food has a way of connecting people. The sharing of food is a two-way street; it nourishes and supports the consumer, and it allows the cook an opportunity to share their passion and their culture through the dishes they create. Some cooks are also grateful for the opportunity to supplement their income, while others are newcomers to the community, slowly rebuilding their own networks through the sharing of food.
Even if the busyness of life dictates that you need to have meals delivered to your home and you never meet the cook who has prepared your meal, home cooking is never faceless. The simple awareness that your meal has been individually prepared with love in somebody’s home creates a connectedness with that person. If you go on to receive many of their meals, they quietly become a part of your support network – and you a part of theirs.
Home cooking is a conduit for love and support, both given and received, and with it we can begin to reconnect our communities.