The caption below the photograph of my seven-year-old nephew reads simply, Feast. It’s enough; the picture says it all: a smiling Giovanni sitting in front of a breakfast table filled with serving dishes of eggs, sausage, bacon, French toast, waffles, pancakes…. A feast indeed—or breakfast for two.
My brother-in-law Tony took Gio out for breakfast a few weeks ago, and in moment of inspiration, the two ordered a buffet of breakfast favorites, creating their own feast, a word Giovanni has loved almost since he learned to talk.
Following this uncharacteristic moment of play and indulgence, Tony reported that eating his way around the breakfast table with Giovanni was more fun than he had had in a very long time. While we might crave something simpler if we ate like this all of the time, I’m starting to wonder if we feast often enough.
Feast is a word loaded with meaning—both noun and verb, neither leaving any room for misinterpretation. A feast conveys celebration, abundance, joy, and even a little happy decadence. It inspires laughter and fun. To feast engages all five-senses, reminding us that life itself smells, tastes, sounds, looks, and feels delicious.
Gio innately gets this. He can create a feast with seemingly ordinary food cooked in his own kitchen, leaving me to ask myself why I rarely even think of using this word, never mind give myself permission to feast.
As I was driving home from work for lunch recently (a treat I started to allow myself), I thought of Gio and his enthusiasm for this under-used, expansive word. During the brief two-mile trip home, I felt its depth and richness, recognizing fully—maybe for the first time ever—that it has very little to do with food. Then I realized that far from being over-indulgent or gluttonous, feasting encourages imagination, gratitude, and savoring the moment. A feast simultaneously celebrates what is while creating something more.
Loving that I had learned this powerful lesson from Gio, in the solitude of my own kitchen, I made myself a turkey meatloaf sandwich on toast and a glass of milk. And as I bit into my sandwich, which tasted surprisingly excellent, I relished that my simple lunch had turned into a feast of my own.