One of the great consolations at this stage in life is that one of my three adult daughters lives nearby. So I get to see her and her husband, Joel, on a regular basis.
We often dine together at my house. Invariably, while I’m cooking, Joel initiates what has become a familiar exchange.
“That looks really good,” he’ll say. “What’s the secret?”
As I begin to share something about a specific ingredient or technique, he interrupts.
“Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that before. What’s the real secret?”
He’s baiting me and we both know it.
“Love,” I answer faithfully. “The real secret is love.”
While I believe love is essential to every good meal (and any effective organization or worthwhile pursuit), that sentiment is no great secret. It’s widely shared here at “the House that Love Built”®, where our loving embrace includes wonderful feasts prepared by volunteer chefs almost every day.
Like our guests, Joel brings an appreciative spirit to every meal. He savors both the food and fellowship. And he always helps with the dishes!
So far, he’s accepted my premise at face value. Were he to push further, I would say this: Love is the essence from which flavor emanates. But in cooking and in life, how you approach any task will color what you put into it. The secret ingredient—the one that brings everything together—can’t be named by anyone else. We have to find it ourselves. And we arrive at it in our own unique way and our own good time.
As for me—I remain open to discovery.
Tom Soma, Executive Director