As cooking becomes less and less an everyday activity, there are those who tend to idealize it, and the cook is vaunted as the nurturer, the provider of good things and the person who gives an essential embrace. All that's true, but the shortcomings of the food-as-love brigade are to that too much emphasis is put on food, but not enough. Food isn't just love, food encompasses everything: it may be only a part of life but in an important way it underpins the whole of it. Basic to the whole ting of being human is that we use food to mark occasions that are important to us in life. Feast is not just about the way we cook and eat at the great religious festivals or big-deal special occasions, but about how food is the vital way we celebrate anything that matters -- a birthday, a new job, a anniversary; it's how we mark the connections between us, how we celebrate life.