Flavors of Affection | The Role of Food in Expressing Love

Love language and food

The first time I realized that food played a part in love, I was watching a movie that I definitely should not have been watching at my age. That film was 9 and ½ Weeks, and, if you’ve seen it, there is a scene where Mickey Rourk is feeding Kim Basinger different foodstuffs.

At first, it’s cute and tame—he has her keep her eyes closed, so she’s surprised at the things he places on her tongue. And then if it shifts from cute to, um, erotic? That scene made me want someone who loved me enough to feed me while we sat on the kitchen floor. I was like, “I cannot WAIT until I’m old enough to have that kind of love.” Thank you, HBO–you shaped me in a really weird way.

Inappropriate movies for tweens aside, most of our lives revolve around food—and not just because we need sustenance to live. Meals are times when people connect around a table, whether at home or while dining out, and talk about their days and lives over their fav cuisines.

Whether you’re a gourmand who only dines at five-star restaurants or have simpler tastes and are happy with chicken tenders and fries, food is more than platonic fare with friends and family. Food is love.

We aren’t sure why the saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” excludes the other gender but the adage can be said about pretty much everyone. If you show up with a bag full of right-out-of-the-fryer McDonald’s fries, I’ll follow you to the ends of the earth. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit; but when someone brings you your first choice of grub, it’s a shot of dopamine and serotonin. Those receptors also light up when, you guessed it, you’re in love.

There exists a profound connection between the love for food and the expression of love, so put your napkin on your lap, and let’s dig into this culinary road to affection and what role food has in expressing love!


The Language of Nosh

Dr. Gary Chapman’s acclaimed book, “The Five Love Languages,” has remained a New York Times Bestseller for a reason—it highlights the quintessential ways of expressing love: Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.

Each love language explains the unique ways people feel loved and appreciated in romantic relationships. How so? We’ll explain below how food fits into each love language!

Quality Time

Eating together helps couples get closer, learn what each other likes, and build a stronger bond. It’s during these meals that they can talk, laugh, and love more.

Gift Giving

Picking out a gift shows you care. When the gift is a homemade meal or a basket of yummy treats, it makes this way of showing love even tastier.

Words of Affirmation

Saying nice things like “This is so good!” or “You really nailed this one!” is easy when you’re enjoying a meal. These compliments make the cook happy and make the meal feel special.

Acts of Service

Taking time to cook a meal for your partner is a real act of kindness. It shows you want to take care of them and make them happy, turning mealtime into a way to show love.

Physical Touch

Sharing a meal is bound to lead to soft little touches, like when passing the food, pouring drinks, or casual grazing of hands just because. And if you want to add even more intimacy, there are foods said to be aphrodisiacs that you can prepare and eat. Think oysters, figs, chili peppers, dark chocolate, and strawberries.


Sharing is Caring

Now, some might not like to share their food with others, and we get that. I, for one, am not a fan of anyone else partaking in my plate until I have finished eating. But that rule goes right out the window when I’m in love. They can reach across the table and pluck whatever they want, and I’m happy about it—love changes you.

And when your boo knows your favorites? That’s a love language, baby! When they show up with a bag of your preferred takeout without being asked, they just know what you wanted and pick it up? That’s love in action.

There’s also the cultural angle to consider the role of food in expressing love—it serves as a way to highlight our heritage and where we come from. It’s a perfect way to open up, share, and let someone into the world that molded us and made us who we are.

A mutual love for food can pave the way to a better understanding and appreciation of each other’s backgrounds and traditions, adding a dash of diversity to the relationship—like a delicious seven-layered dip.


Takeaways

While food may not have a seat at Dr. Chapman’s official table of love languages, its role in nurturing romantic bonds is evident—the act of sharing meals, exploring new cuisines, and cooking for one another touched on all five love languages, hinting at the genesis of an unspoken, yet remarkably apparent, sixth love language.

The next time you’re in the kitchen, remember that love can be found in the clanking noise of pots and pans, in the simmering on the stove, and in the aroma filling up your home. Whether you’re making a simple homemade pizza or a fancy French meal (ooh la la), sharing food is a delicious way to show love. It’s a love language that everyone gets.

In the world of love, food is more than just something to eat; it’s a way to express and share love, one tasty bite at a time.