What do you LOVE about food?
How does food make you feel?
I am a member of our local Toastmasters International club, Doncaster Speakers (click on the link if you want to find out more about Public Speaking in Doncaster…and it’s about much more than just public speaking: personal development, confidence building, leadership skills to name but a few!) and when it came to choosing a topic for my Competent Communicator series speech no. 4 (Theme: “How to say it”), the topic of ‘Food’ seemed to lend itself perfectly to the project’s objectives:
- Select the right words and sentence structure to communicate your ideas clearly, accurately and vividly
- Use rethorical devices to enhance and emphasize ideas
- Eliminate jargon and unnecessary words
- Use correct grammar
(Timing: 5-7 mins)
I don’t tend to write my speeches down – I jot down keywords/phrases I want to use and a general flow/structure, but then practise, practise, practise and allow it to flow naturally. As I received so much praise for my speech though (I won the ‘Best Speaker’ award for the evening) and as someone asked me if there was a transcript available, I thought it would be fitting to write it up in this blog which is, after all, about my love of food!
A speech is meant to be heard and seen, so without voice inflection & variations in tonality, facial expressions and body language, I’m sure it loses a bit of its impact, but here is an approximation of what I said (Speech Title: “Glorious”):
Captivating Colours, Sensational Smells, Fascinating Flavours
Food means different things to different people at different times.
Food can be functional: The rushed sandwich at lunchtime that you barely savour as you need to get back to work
Food can be torture! Guilt-laden and a daily battle for some of us that enjoy it a little bit too much…
Food can be pleasurable, fun, shared with people you love!
Food means different things to different people at different times – sometimes it can be all of those things to me in just one day, depending on the meal I’m eating.
Madam Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters and most welcome guests: I ADORE food! Not just eating it, but cooking it, sharing it with people I love, blogging about it.
Food is more than the culmination (note: culminate/culmination was our ‘word of the day’ to try and insert into our speeches) of its ingredients coming together in a complete recipe. Food is more than fuel for our body. Food is more than mere nutrition. Food is powerful because it taps into our emotions! I’d like to tell you a story:
It is the story of a little girl, in the 1970’s, standing on a stool in a cosy, cramped, love-filled kitchen in Rome. She looks down at a bowl full of scrumptious deliciousness: Butter, Sugar, Eggs… She’s helping her Grandmother make cake, and as she stirs, she asks “Can I have a taste, Nonna?” and her Grandmother looks down at her lovingly and replies “If you have a taste now, there’ll be nothing left! You can lick the bowl at the end”. Then her Grandmother finds an excuse to briefly leave the room. In that time, quick as a flash, the little girl dips her finger into the bowl and has a taste of the scrumptious cake mixture, then resumes mixing before her Grandmother returns, pretending to be none the wiser. This scene repeated frequently in that kitchen!
That little girl stands before you now, considerably older, not much wiser and, in fact, not that much taller – I still need to stand on stools to reach things! Sadly, my Grandmother died a few years ago, but she lives on through her food. Such is the power of food!
When I stand in my kitchen, cooking one of my Grandmother’s recipes, it is as though she is standing there with me, smiling, laughing and singing like she used to. When I share her recipes with my friends and family, I feel like she’s at the dinner table with us, sharing the love and the food. And when I blog about her recipes, I know that a little part of my Grandmother will live on forever, thanks to the internet!
Food is also very visual. When I cook a Chilli con Carne, my face lights up like the glowing sun…not because of the heat of the chilli burning my nose and making my eyes water, not because of the delicious aroma of garlic, onion and paprika as the beef sizzles in the pan…my face lights up and I grin from ear to ear…when I add the peppers! The vibrant yellow, the warming orange, the fiery red! When those colours come into the pot and mingle with the warm earthy richness of the beef, magic happens. I experience a fleeting moment of pure joy! This may seem an exaggeration, but it happens every time I do this, so it’s no coincidence. Such is the power of food!
So, the next time you eat a meal, think about the memories it recalls from the past, or the memories you’re creating for the future. Ponder the pleasure of the food you’re eating. Enjoy the crunch of a crispy salad leaf under your teeth, listen to the sausages sizzling on the barbecue in this gorgeous weather, and if you still enjoy making popcorn, listen to the POP-POP-POP of the corn popping in the pan…we used to love doing this as children, but we don’t do it anymore!
Enjoy food. Food is GLORIOUS!