On Feeding and Being Fed

Earlier this month, my friend Corey and I met up for tea. It was a nice night for a walk in San Francisco; I only needed a coat. We ate a bit. We sipped our drinks. And we talked about all the things worth loving like cities, books, men… and food. She gave me good advice and I left brimming with hope.

I keep revisiting something Corey said in particular. She told me, “Friends are the people you feed and that feed you.” The trueness of it picked me up and carried me back to unforgettable meals I managed to forget.

Feed is an Old English word with roots in Latin. The list of synonyms goes on longer than my attention span, but here are a few to give you the gist.

To feed is to nourish, maintain, support, encourage, channel, attend, cultivate, let grow, supply, delight, feast, and gratify, among other things. These are some beautiful verbs, don’t you think?

In her advice column as Dear Sugar, Cheryl Strayed feeds us wisdom she’d give her younger self. This one. This one on repeat with audio:

Stop worrying about whether you’re fat. You’re not fat. Or rather, you’re sometimes a little bit fat, but who gives a shit? There is nothing more boring and fruitless than a woman lamenting the fact that her stomach is round. Feed yourself. Literally. The sort of people worthy of your love will love you more for this, sweet pea.

My mind wanders, weaving different conversations, faces, paragraphs, and questions.

What does it mean to feed someone?
How can we best serve the people we love? Can we feed ourselves in the same way?

Can we savor the time we have? Can we nourish, encourage, and delight in each other every day, every meal—instead of making time for those verbs on special occasions?

Love in a Dish is a sweet little sampling of M.F.K. Fisher’s stories. It’s short and fresh and wonderful.

In the foreword, Anne Zimmerman writes: “M.F.K. Fisher’s hungers were real; she wanted both food and love, and seemed to realize that the two were undeniably linked.”

How fantastic is it that we can fill ourselves by filling our bellies?

Friends are the people you feed and that feed you.

Just by saying that, Corey filled me with ideas about what it means to be a true friend. A giver. A feeder. A nourishing force of life. A person that treats others how they want to be treated. And a person that is humble enough to let others serve them too.

It was a great heart-talk, as she called it. The best kind of talk there is.

Categorized as Story

By Nicole Fenton

Nicole Fenton is a content designer, writer, and researcher. They started Born Hungry as a way to explore and encourage cooking at home.

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