What does it mean to feed people?

When I started culinary school, a weird thing happened. People started getting really twitchy about the food they liked around me. They'd start apologizing for liking Taco Bell or cut up Li'l Smokies in their mac'n'cheese or whatever. But here's the thing. Food only needs to do two things to be good at being food, and therefor to be good food. It needs to nourish you -- to provide nutrients, including absolutely essential macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins and fats, which you would die without -- and it needs to taste good to you. If it has calories, it satisfies the first requirement. If it pleases you in the moment you eat it, it satisfies the second requirement. That's it. That's all. Yes, it is an excellent idea to eat a wide variety of foods with lots of different micronutrients, because those are important too. Yes, it is good to balance the proportions of the macronutrients you eat, although different people have different needs and different optimal levels of each. But calories are what keep you alive. If the goal is to feed people, there is no better thing to do than to feed them something they will enjoy. Something that tastes good, that makes them feel good. If they have to choke it down because it doesn't taste good to them, they won't eat as much, and they won't be properly nourished physically. But food is also a source of joy, and that's nourishment, too. We need joy to live, almost as much as we need calories. So food should bring us enjoyment, the inception of joy. So I tell people not to be ashamed of what they like to eat. I don't care how cheap it is, how low-class, how many artificial flavors and colors it has. If it tastes good and it fuels your body, that's good food. Feed people. Feed people things they like and want to eat. Give them both nutrients and joy. Feed people....

"Why are you not Hestia's?"

"Because Hekate got to me first?" That's an exchange from the weekend of Many Gods West. I was feeding people, you see. I spent most of my weekend doing all this other stuff, and I talked a whooooole lot about all the random crap I do -- weaving, spinning, a little coding and tech stuff, beadwork and jewelry, collecting facts and trivia, whatever else came up -- but then after ritual, I was feeding the ritual crew. Because that's what I do: I feed people. Everything else I do is secondary to or derivative of that, for me. (There are a lot of kinds of hunger, and a lot of ways of feeding people.) And then it came up again, the next day, and someone asked me that. I answered the best I could, and I told her I'd dedicated my restaurant as a shrine to Hestia, and our pilot lights as her Flames. Not everything I do and am is about my particular gods. Anything I do can be about them, and often is. But feeding people as a central part of who I am doesn't make me Hestia's in the same way that I am Hekate's, or even Dionysos's. My cooking is not (usually) about either of them. But feeding people means that I give Hestia honor, that I recognize her realm, her work, her bailiwick in what I do (hence the restaurant; I still keep the frieze plaque of her I had hanging in the restaurant in my ritual room). I pray to her daily. But she is not the one who came to me when I was sixteen and sick and scared and hiding, and told me I could be both strong and powerful. I didn't even know how to cook yet, really, much less how to feed people. Hestia's not the one who first rode me, not the one who followed me in the night and kept me safe, who answered my questions, who told me that killing myself when I was dedicated to a goddess of the underworld was a Bad Idea and so kept me alive. Hekate came to me when I needed a goddess, and in return I gave myself to her. That Hestia did not do those things is not something I'm hurt by, understand. She had her reasons, and maybe I didn't call to her in some way that I did call to Hekate. I don't blame Hestia at all, though I realize some parts of this entry might sound like it. It's simply that Hekate is the one who was there, so I dedicated myself to her. Hestia is both wonderful and important, and feeding people can be an act of worship and honor to her. It is always an act that falls within her demesne. Doing it, however, is not always about her. I hope that makes sense?...