By Katie Reeder
I ask, as we sit around the dinner table, the usual five of us: my dad Milt, my stepmom Margot, my brother Jason, his partner Natalie, and me. It’s an early summer evening feast at their home in Belvedere, a playful collaboration of Dad’s garden-grown vegetables, fresh greens and fruit that Margot brings home every week from her friends at the North Bay farmer’s markets, Costco meat grilled to perfection (and extra dead for Natalie), and a bottle of crisp rosé. We’ve already devoured a couple bowls of Margot’s illustrious guacamole before sitting down to dinner. I, as usual, am in charge of the salad, tossing a mix of my favorites (stone fruit and avocado) with Margot’s request for a simple dressing that isn’t too “vinegar-y”, and a generous sprinkle of garlic Morsel crumbs on top. The first bite tells me I’ve nailed it.
Our usual dinner time banter winds its way around everyone’s work updates, the latest Netflix binge, and a few rounds of jokes and pokes at each one of our expense in turn. I ask the question about love languages because I’m curious to know if my dad and Margot have taken the Love Languages quiz, and because as I look around at our table full of food I realize I have my suspicions that I already know what result they would get.
“What’s a love language?” my dad asks.
The concept of love languages was developed by Gary Chapman, Ph.D., in his book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. They describe the different ways an individual often gives or perceives love: physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, and gifts. The idea is that knowing what your primary love language is, and those of others in your life, can help guide how you resolve conflicts and understand each other more effectively. We all know the experience, sometimes a painful one, of feeling disconnected from a family member or loved one because the way they express or expect to receive love doesn’t quite align with our own. Like the fight between partners when one feels uncomfortable making declarations of affection and the other needs to hear those words. We probably also know the experience of feeling very loved and taken care of by another who offers their affection to us in a manner that sinks into our heart and lingers all week.
My parents aren’t stingy with their hugs or words of affection for us, or how they show up to advise and assist us when they can, and we spend plenty of quality time together at home or hiking around the Bay. But it is in this specific moment at dinner that I realize the significance of their gift giving in particular. It occurs to me that Margot’s Morsels was born out of something very special to our family.
No one who knows them would disagree that Milt and Margot are generous, and the three of us kids are prime benefactors. They seem to feel they haven’t completed an evening properly if they haven’t given us some physical and edible token of their love. They won’t let us walk out the door without at least one grocery bag full of that love: extra loaves of Dad’s sourdough, a gallon ziplock of cinnamon morsels that Jason pours with milk as his morning cereal, farmer’s market veggies that somebody’s gotta eat before they wilt, whole bottles of olive oil and wine, rolls of Margot’s premade cookie dough to fill our freezers, or miscellaneous pastries they’ve accumulated from friends that they can’t eat themselves because, “we aren’t eating dessert right now.” The contents vary but the gesture is consistent.
I learned to love the nuanced experience of food from watching my Dad; observing and imbibing the way cooking, gathering, and sharing meals amplifies one’s personal pleasure to that of a collective and collaborative joy. He has been cooking for our family my entire life, often exploring eccentric new ways to inform his craft that make us roll our eyes (queue the family lore about his backyard beekeeping and composting with worm castings). I think teaching himself how to bake homemade sourdough bread almost two decades ago, long before COVID quarantine turned it into a trend for the masses, wasn’t just about keeping his creative mind busy, or the satisfaction of mastering a difficult skillset to become an expert in something new; it was also about creating something tangible to share with those he cares about. Countless people have benefitted from gifts of his sourdough mastery, from neighbors to friends to friends-of-friends, and now all of you who’ve discovered the scrumptious world of Margot’s Morsels.
Margot herself is an unflinching gift-giver, never caught at an occasion without a token, be it a souvenir from her worldly travels, a thoughtful holiday gift in beautiful wrapping, or a pithy card in the mail. The fact that she gravitated toward creating a business that shared something special to her and our family with the wider world, gifting us all with deliciousness in such crunchable and irresistible a form, is no surprise. Giving love is what we do in our family; consistently, quirkily, sometimes excessively, usually involving food, and always with generosity of spirit and flavor.
If, like my family does, you send your love through a curated quality food experience like, perhaps, an organic bite-sized morsel, click here to gift that special someone a bag or two to remind them you care.
Until next time,
Katie is Milt’s daughter and Margot’s stepdaughter. An Oakland native, writer, educator, and facilitator, she is particularly fond of good food shared with good company, trips to the ocean, power yoga classes in the park, and her calico cat, Ursula. She favors the garlic morsels (but don’t tell the others).
If you are in the San Francisco bay area, come to the farmer’s markets in the North Bay Area and look for us. Right now we’re in Mill Valley and Marin Country Mart in Larkspur. Or, buy our morsels from one of our retail partners. I would love to meet you and find out how you use morsels. Don’t forget to Get Your Crunch On!