Adorning the doors belonging to me and my roommates are a series of sticky notes. Written on each one is something we appreciate about each other. They first appeared during a particularly dreadful week last semester and were kept up and added to over the next few months. My favorite note on my own door simply says, “She feeds me,” because one of my favorite things to do is feed people. I don’t care if I’m the one making the food or the one delivering it, feeding people makes me happy.
When you feed people, you get a sense of giving them something that is needed and desired. You’re taking care of them, and in so many places and people in my life, I have seen feeding equate to caring.
Growing up, whenever I went to visit my grandmother, there would always be red jell-o or lemon bars. In her prime, she had been an incredible baker, or so my mother tells me. Even in the early years of my life, Alzheimer’s was starting to take hold. The Jell-o and lemon bars both came from a box mix, but it was the effort and the thought that made it clear her desire to care for us was still very present. As her disease progressed, I would return the favor and act of love by sitting beside her, holding her hand, and guiding the spoon to her mouth.
At work, I introduce myself to my tables with, “ I’ll be taking care of you,” and when I make sure a customer gets what they want and deliver it to them, it truly feels like I am. In restaurants, coworkers also take care of each other. Servers make sure the kitchen is drinking water, and the kitchen will put up a bowl of veggies or extra fries. Whenever a mistake or an extra gets made, everyone grabs a fork, and we make sure something gets to the dish room too. At the end of a particularly long summer night, someone will disappear for a few minutes and come back with Italian ice or ice cream, which is much appreciated when it can be close to a hundred degrees inside. We care about each other, and we show it through food.
When I’m at home, I love to cook for my parents. I couldn’t care less about domestic stereotypes—I love to make sandwiches for my dad. Not only because he raves about the fact that I don’t burn grilled cheese, but also because I love to be able to do things for him. I love to feel like I can give him something in exchange for all he’s given me, to feel like I can repay all of the care he has given me by taking care of him, even in small ways.
Here at Goucher, when I have time to bake, I love making cookies or pies and giving them out to professors and friends. At the end of the semester when I inevitably have too many swipes left on my meal plan, I am more than happy to pass around my OneCard. Not only because baking is therapeutic and I need to get rid of meal swipes and flex, but also because it just feels nice to be able to provide something to someone else. I see that in the actions of others as well. Snacks from faculty and staff seem to multiply as the semester draws to a close, and everyone knows that if you want college students to come to an event, you need only to offer food.
So if all you can say about me is “she feeds me,” that’s perfectly fine because feeding people is something I am proud to do. Feeding people means taking care of them, and if that’s all I’ve accomplished at the end of the day, I think I can deal with it.