A new way to communicate

Geraldo Sibinde - Brazil


February 4, 2020

There are thousands of languages out there, some only a few hundred can people speak them, I used to wonder how people used to communicate when they did not have a common language, even sign language is not universal, it varies within countries, certainly you will  comprehend the basics, maybe easier to go around using sign language than some verbal languages because some of them come from different roots. 

About a year ago I read a book entitled "Like Water for chocolate" from the Spanish " Como Água  para chocolate " by Laura Esquivel. The book has twelve chapters, each chapter represents a month of the year in the Gregorian calendar, and each month is characterized by one recipe. So twelve chapters, twelve month and  twelve recipes. In this book she tells many stories about her life, and she talks about her mother and what her culture shapes the way she is. She tells a story about when she fell in love with a man but that was a prohibited relationship, because she needed to take care of her mother until her death. The book is magical, well the genre of the book is Magic Realism, so that makes sense, I could not stop reading the book and when I got in the third chapter, the month was March, and the recipe was Codornices en petalos de rosas. The way she talks about the ingredients is magnificent she talks about the importance of each ingredient, the color of it, when she talks about the red color as a symbol of love, and she also talks about the influence the feeling of the person who cooks, she says if you cook while you are sad, the people who will eat the food will also feel sad. Her views in culinary changed the way I cook, eat and appreciate food, and is at this time where I really relate to her feelings and thoughts. 

Brazil has been a roller coaster  and a very turbulent flight. I cooked for my host family a few times, I noticed that they would not lie when they expressed their opinion about the taste of the food I cook, and my little sister is the best, if its back she says it, “I didn’t like it”. Most of the recipes I make there are some red on it, and now I realize that in some way, I am showing the love I feel for them. While growing up, I had very stressful times during my school, some teachers were very scary, so now I try to avoid nuisance, but during my school time, when I was younger, no matter how stressed I was, during the meals, I was another creature, I do not see the anger take off my appetite, maybe is what made me eat a lot. Our food back is Mozambique is very colorful, well sometimes, but I think the feeling people have while cooking it really influences the way we assimilate the food and what they are trying to transmite, in matter of fact my host Dad is a fantastic cooker, his food is amazing, when he makes Barbecue, I can not stop eating, when he makes Feijoada (beans with the addition of different types of meat ) it is mouthwatering. Sometimes when my host Dad is on rush he just makes chicken, and it is very salty, that is the only recipe I do not like, and he just makes that when he is very busy and my host Mom is also  busy, but he also makes chicken and it is also salty but he makes it during the weekend, it is really good. When he cooks the food on rush and he is worried about time, the food doesn't taste good, but with care and passion and love his food becomes more than delicious, when he cooks on rush does not means there is no love, the message we get is that he is in a rush, and the indicator is the salty chicken.

Now I see how this language makes me more connected to my host family, with my different cooking manners to my unbelievable taste, in  verbal language you can have misunderstandings, maybe because of the connotation of a term in different countries and how it is interpreted in a certain culture. Communicating through food is the perfect communication following the definition of communication, imagine a role play: the nose gives you context through the smell, the cooker is the sender, eating is the language, the food is the message, the tongue takes the role of the channel, who eats is the receiver, and the information and the feedback goes directly to the heart.

Communication thought food  changed my perspective to how people react and interact when you make food with love, this is the  new way to communicate in practice, communicating thought food has been a long conversation with my host Dad,  conversation that I do not want it to end, because they make amazing recipes, and when you think how delicious the food is, and how careful they were while cooking and how much love they put on it, you can see what people feel about  you thought your tongue, heart and eyes all together. The  new way to communicate is universal, anyone can use it no previous knowledge required and the flavours is what makes you get the point of what the other is saying, and I have seen that as part of the Brazilian culture, and not only the daily recipes but also in birthday cakes, and other deserts, there is always a message to transmite and it is a message of love and happiness, the sugar in the cake may be what excites people but the intriguing and astonishing colors makes people want it even more. 


Geraldo Sibinde