The Daily Feed: We Give Food. It's What We Do.

When a new mother gives birth, what do you do? You gift diapers, or board books, or sweet little onesies with duckies and hearts. You send balloons; you send flowers. Maybe you’ll even splurge on a giant stork for the new parents’ yard, with a little sign that announces: “It’s a boy!” or “It’s twins!” 

When we visit, though, we tend to bring food. Not for the baby, of course, but for tired moms and dads too busy nurturing their newborns to nurture themselves. We fill freezers with lasagnas and casseroles, line countertops with homemade bundt cakes and brownies, and stuff the fridge with pasta salads and heat-up-quick meals. It’s what we do.

And when someone dies?

A good friend lost her father-in-law earlier this week, and the first thing I thought was: “I need to call her.” The second thing was: “I need to bring her a meal.” So I’ve got boneless country pork ribs marinating in the fridge (recipe here), bathed in soy sauce, five spice powder, sugar, and star anise. Tomorrow I’ll roast them, then bring them to her house with a pile of cookies.

Big events call for food, across nearly every culture, across nearly every land. It’s how we nurture, how we celebrate, and how we mourn.

It’s what we do.


Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule.

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