There must be a gazillion words already written about the gift of food but I would like to add my few.
On so many levels, the gift of food satisfies like no other. I think the original reason, in most cultures, was the sharing of a very precious commodity. The production of food, in many places, is a risky business, no guarantees. For a few years, I attempted to grow my own vegetables. Ha! Growing edible things is not quite as easy as the seed companies would have us believe. Thank goodness for grocery stores.
There was a time, however, when grocery stores didn't exist. There was a time, in England, of ONE HUNDRED YEARS of bad weather. Lots of disease, not a lot of food. Famine makes food the greatest gift of all. So, even here and now, no famine, we have this ancient memory and so preserve an ancient appreciation of gifts of food.
Giving a meal is so cool; the host or hostess has a chance to show off his or her skills without verbally bragging. What feeling can compare to that of presenting a platter full of deliciousness? If I had a million dollars and employed an army of caterers would I get the same thrill? I think not. The thrill would be of a different nature, pride of organization, pride of being able to afford professionals, but not the same thrill of hands-on creativity and, when you think about it, the sacrifice of time.
The giving of time is a big part of the gift of food; the shopping as well as the doing and the cleaning up after the doing. All this is a part of the gift and if the recipient of the gift does this as well, the more the gift will be appreciated.
I love the whole thing, including the hot, sweaty, panic-stricken moment when, for a wee bit of time, I think it will be a disaster. I have done this long enough that I can recognize the signs, and even warn my true-love that "I need to boss you around for 15 minutes!!!" It's all good. All part of the gift. All part of saying, "Hey, I like you. Let me give you food to prove it."