It renews us too: our love for life and each other, our desire to connect with all this radiance. A friend was telling me recently as we walked through a beautiful garden that she remembers making ‘May baskets’ as a child in Iowa: small cones fashioned from coloured paper that would be filled with sweets – chocolate kisses, jellybeans – and wildflowers – violets, daisies, forget-me-nots. One would make a few of these little baskets to leave in secret at the doors of friends, and it was always, she said, so lovely to receive them in return.
We may not give each other May baskets these days, but we do share closeness through food. We cook for each other, or share a meal out – and sometimes we even cook together. Some of our best memories of family and friends may be of times we not only shared the eating, but shared the meal preparation itself. The labour is shared, the compliments are shared, and there’s the satisfaction of doing something together in a more balanced dynamic. Couples who cook together see benefits to their relationship, and friends too can get closer when they pool their time and share a session of recreational cooking as a welcome change from the daily ‘maintenance cooking’ that we sometimes have to do even when we’re tired and out of ideas (and ingredients).