When we have company, I make food.
I put my heart and hands to the task, revelling in the the plans for the meal or the treats I will make, filling glasses or mugs to accompany the plates, making sure everyone eats safely, has what they need, has enough.
Sometimes, what is needed is as simple as grilled cheese sandwiches and cream of tomato soup.
Invariably, our guests appreciate and thank me for this effort. To say, “You’re welcome,” seems an incomplete response to their gratitude.
Making food, preparing drink, serving it graciously, these are how I express my love, how I care for people, how I make the world a better place. (Or at least, part of how.)
“You’re welcome,” sounds and feels so one-sided. I’ve found a better answer for me to give.
It is my pleasure.
Often I will add, “and you’re welcome,” because that is what people expect – that is the polite convention – and because the idea of pleasure seems to throw people off.
At its best, food – how we nourish, nurture, comfort, and sate our bodies – is a pleasure.
A sensual, holy pleasure.
It is my pleasure to make food to share with others.
Sometimes my husband has a hard time understanding this. He sees the hours (and the mess) that can go into a multi-course meal for a table full of people – a meal that their hungry mouths can make short work of – and wonders how it can be worthwhile to me, how it balances out.
I see the table as a place of community, a gathering place for loved ones, family, and friends, a place for old stories to be recalled, for new stories to be made. If the food and drink are the vehicle that brings everyone together, then I am most pleased to be the driver.
When I tuck into my plate, hearing the silence that descends as everyone has their first bites of the meal, I am happy.
It is a delight to see the wonder, the smiles, the hands reaching for second helpings, baskets and bowls being passed up and down the table.
Saying grace/giving thanks at the beginning of the meal, the steam rising from bowls of food, the clink of fork and knife on a plate, the fidgeting of small feet swinging under too-big chairs, the bubbles in a glass of champagne, even the hair sticking to my forehead a little as I pull all the dishes together in the last minutes, every time just a little afraid I won’t make it.
All of this is a pleasure. These are delights for the senses – all of the senses. That sensual delight feeds me, even as I feed my guests.
When you say thank you, know that it is my pleasure. And you are welcome.
Joy Tanksley is hosting the Self-Discovery Word-by-Word Blogger Series this month. As the host for February, she chooses the word. Knowing Joy, it’s no surprise that her word is pleasure. Joy has posed some interesting questions about pleasure. Her blog – Being Joy – is full of awesome. Check it out.