Tuesday, August 7, 2007

On Food

It seems that nobody gets food right. Everybody gets it wrong.
On the one hand, the gluttons have it wrong, because they see food as mere pleasure, and who doesn't want to keep filling up on pleasure over and above what is proper and good? By seeing it as mere pleasure, there are no limits or boundaries set in their minds.
However, the diet Nazis of the world have it wrong too, because they see food as mere fuel. This is why all health food taste like crap when compared to regular food. In their minds, food's only function is to propel, not satisfy aesthetically or emotionally. By seeing it as mere fuel, food has no soul anymore.
The soul of food is the person who cooks it. Every creation has a touch of its creator, and you can tell when a creator likes what it creates. Someone who finds pleasure in food always makes the best food (and far too much). Someone who sees food as merely energy to be consumed (or worse, as an evil in and of itself), makes the worst food (with the proper amount). Regular food is (typically) soulful but in excess, while diet food is moderation in action but void of life. Neither way is correct on its own; they both need each other.
My philosophy professor once said, "Just enjoy food." I believe what he meant is to have the proper vision of food, for you cannot truly enjoy something good unless you truly see all that it is first. You do not truly enjoy a sunset unless you take in all of its aspects; you do not truly enjoy art unless you catch sight of its every layer; you do not truly enjoy another person unless you take in all that they are. There is need for a whole and proper perspective when viewing something before you can truly and fully enjoy it (which is why wide screen movies are better than full screen!).
There is no proper perspective for food from either gluttons or diet nuts. Gluttons see it merely as pleasure; diet freaks see it merely as fuel. The correct and whole view is to see it as both, i.e., as pleasure and fuel. Food is meant to please as well as energize, and both work together (for pleasure is a way to energize). Only by seeing it as both will you be able to eat good soul-filled food and set limitations and boundaries on it. It is then you will truly be able to enjoy food for what it is: pleasure and propulsion, ecstasy and energy. May God help us to eat of His bounty with a whole and proper vision.