In medical school, free food can be found at almost every event and a poor struggling student can always survive any famine by finding a new talk or club meeting to find sustenance. There are some unofficial sayings at UCSF: "If you can't find free food, you're just not looking hard enough" and "hey, there IS such thing as a free lunch."
Today, I managed to make it through the day with not one, not two, but FOUR free meals. 1) During our small group discussion, one of the talented students in our lovely group baked a crumb cake and brought in cinnamon buns for breakfast. I would say that this was unusual...but it really wasn't! 2) free lunch was served at a basic science journal club presentation on how chaperone protein AHA1 affects the mutant CFTR protein in cystic fibrosis; 3) free dinner was served during a volunteer organization meeting, but I had to save this dinner for another time because 4) a friend was cooking dinner and hosting a highly anticipated (by me) "Beauty and the Geek" TV viewing.
The best free food by far was (4), the pasta and asparagus dinner cooked with loving care by Paul in honor of the TV event. Sure, free food is great on every occasion, but I realized tonight that the best free food tastes better and gives the most satisfaction when it is made by someone who really cared and enjoyed by a group of friends who happen to enjoy watching reality television. This is going to sound REALLY cheesy, but until now, I never believed it when cooks say that there is a special ingredient called "care and attention," maybe even "love" in a sense.
It tastes like the best thing in the world.