I don't know about your families, but in mine, food is love.
It's not that we don't tell each other we love each other - we do. But food, food is concrete proof.
When I was growing up, we'd go to my grandmother's house in the summer, and she'd have baked five different kinds of cookies for us. The fridge would be full of things we liked. She was kind and everything she did was incredibly loving. But something about all the baking beforehand really hit home. It was proof. We were in her mind when we weren't there. She was excited we were coming. She thought about what we liked, and she worked to make it for us. And offered it to us beaming, so glad we were finally there for our visit.
I bake for people I love. I can't cook, but I do make kick ass brownies, if I may say so myself. They used to be my friend Maude's staple request when she was sad.
Even now, when my dad wants to get my mom to make him something, he'll say, "Back when your mother really loved me, she used to make Minnesota hot dish/rice pudding/the most wonderful chocolate cake." (Or whatever it might be he was missing.) It's unfair in a Catholic guilt trip kind of way, actually, but it really works. She'll go ahead and make it. To prove, in whatever silly cake kind of way, she still loves him. He knows full well she loves him. But he likes this proof.
My brother always used to have very specific food requests when coming home for a visit. A taste for something our mom used to make. Or five different things she used to make. And she'd make them all. So happy to feed him. Nostalgia. And proof of love.
Being fairly food/body image obsessed, I never had food requests when I came home. Because I was always trying so hard not to eat. And so the food is love, and "we cooked this because we love you" caused me a great deal of anxiety. I resented it. But now that I am (almost entirely) past that I can appreciate it.
So today I spent a good part of the day with my parents as I often do on weekends.
And no matter how often I'm there, they send me home with food. This doesn't mean they thrust a roast chicken into my arms or send me off with a casserole. But, for example, my dad got three extra boxes of this Kashi cereal I love for me to take with me. My mom is constantly sticking food in my bag. She'll sneak in some oranges or apples. Slip in some cookies. See me off at the door with a jar of garlic pickle from the Indian store.
The other day I took fresh baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Yum. Today I came home laden with oranges, apples, plums, and grapes. They just had too many. I had to take them. They would go to waste if I didn't take them.
It's love. It is.