Feeder: a person who expresses love through the preparation and gifting of delicious edibles.
I’ve been blessed by the presence of many a feeder in my life. My mother, who is known for producing fresh batches of bread and well insulated containers of frozen soup and tucking them into my suitcase at the end of each visit, is one. I have a sister who, when I visited the UK, did something similar with rummy fruitcake and, strangely, also soup. A good friend of mine does something similar every time I visit her house, plying me with delicious cookies and take-home bundles of organic salads alive with grains and fresh, zesty herbs.
The concept of offering food speaks to both emotional and physical human needs. On a basic heart level, we need to feel nurtured and cared for. On an even more basic level, we need to eat.
Perhaps because most of my closest friends are women, I think of feeders as intensely maternal. Indeed, often they are mothers–not necessarily physical mothers, but nurturers, caregivers, strong, loving women with a basic understanding of the base and complex nature of life.
I’ve benefitted from the benevolence and love of feeders throughout my life. Sometimes a feeder’s gift is something I haven’t yet mastered the art of making myself, like homemade bread. Sometimes it fills a need I can’t dream of meeting. The night my father died, I was at a friend’s home for dinner. As usual, she sent me home with a goodie bag. When I got the news later and began the dazed act of packing to fly home, I slid her container of quinoa salad into my bag. It was the only healthy thing I ate on my 30 hour journey.
And sometimes, it’s just a treat. Yesterday, one of my favourite feeder friends surprised me with still-warm ginger cookies and a bottle of fresh, homemade almond milk. I’d been wanting to bake and had been thinking about almond milk (which I’ve never made from scratch). Her gift so accurately hit the spot it was as though she’d read my mind.
So, thank you to all you feeders out there, you friends who bring back vegan donuts from afar and who tuck packages of chocolate coconut chai into the post, you fixers of plates to take home and makers-up of containers for later. Thanks for your tangible kindness, for your tasty benevolence, for your edible care.
Today, I raise a glass of almond milk and a ginger cookie to you. Yum yum!