I know it can be hard to hear or understand our intentions or voice inflections over the internet but none of us spend our free time replying to these threads to attack people. It happens a lot though on the internet where someone asks for advice, they get some, and some of it makes them feel bad.
But we are here to help; lots of people come here to ask questions, hear other people's experiences, and chat about the breed. We reply in hopes it helps people to better understand their dogs and have happier lives together.
Again, change his association-approach his bowl and drop some smelly meat in and walk away. Show him by giving him space that he doesn't have to worry or feed him in a crate until he gains more confidence if need be.
He was telling you by growling that he did not want to be pet while eating. Most of us see no reason in day to day life to pet our dogs while they eat, I give them respect/space to eat in peace. That was the only point we were trying to make, not that you can't ever touch your dog while he eats, just that there is no real reason most of the time. Just like some dogs allow kids to ride their back, doesn't mean we should allow it (it's great for the dog to tolerate that situation should it occur but we shouldn't push their limits). We wish you the best and again, are here to help if you need it!