Food and eating often mask our pain, our inner longing for God, for acceptance. It is key to know our motivation for eating as well as for other actions. Why do I eat? Am I tired, am I bored, am I stressed and tired? A good practice is to live in the present moment, aware of the reality in which I am immersed.
Eating be eating, b'ain't it, Birdie?''Nay, Uncle Bear: In Caermelor, at the Royal Court, they be so-oh, so much more advanced than anywhere else. 'Tis not done to wipe your fingers on your hair or the tablecloth, or belch, or speak with your mouth full of food, or scratch, or pick your teeth at table. Ye have to use little forks to pick up the food. Ye not allowed to pour wine for your betters or for yourself, but to wait for them to deign to pour it for ye, if they be feeling generous. And the carving of the meats must be done a certain way, and as for the toasts-it would take ye a whole day just to learn the complications.'Takes the fun out of eating,' observed Sianadh.
Confronted with the problems that characterize our herding culture, we are perhaps like the metaphorical man wounded by an arrow that the Buddha discussed with his students. He said that the man would be foolish if he tried to discover who shot the arrow, why he shot it, where he was when he shot it, and so forth, before having the arrow removed and the wound treated, lest he bleed to death attempting to get his questions answered. We, likewise, can all remove the arrow and treat the wound of eating animal foods right now. We don't need to know the whole history. We can easily see it is cruel and that it is unnecessary; whatever people have done in the past, we are not obligated to imitate them if it is based on delusion. Perhaps in the past people thought they needed to enslave animals and people to survive, and that the cruelty involved in it was somehow allowed them. It's obviously not necessary for us today, as we can plainly see by walking into any grocery store, and the sooner we can awaken from the thrall of the obsolete mythos that we are predatory by nature, the sooner we'll be able to evolve spiritually and discover and fulfill our purpose on this earth.
A thousand years ago the Chinese had an entirely codified kitchen while the French were still gnawing on bones. Chopsticks have been around since the fourth century B.C. Forks didn't show up in England until 1611, and even then they weren't meant for eating but just to hold the meat still while you hacked at it with your knife.
Listen to the people who love you. Believe that they are worth living for even when you don't believe it. Seek out the memories depression takes away and project them into the future. Be brave; be strong; take your pills. Exercise because it's good for you even if every step weighs a thousand pounds. Eat when food itself disgusts you. Reason with yourself when you have lost your reason.
Eating is an agricultural act,' as Wendell Berry famously said. It is also an ecological act, and a political act, too. Though much has been done to obscure this simple fact, how and what we eat determines to a great extent the use we make of the world - and what is to become of it. To eat with a fuller consciousness of all that is at stake might sound like a burden, but in practice few things in life can afford quite as much satisfaction. By comparison, the pleasures of eating industrially, which is to say eating in ignorance, are fleeting. Many people today seem erfectly content eating at the end of an industrial food chain, without a thought in the world; this book is probably not for them.
There are three possible parts to a date, of which at least two must be offered: entertainment, food, and affection. It is customary to begin a series of dates with a great deal of entertainment, a moderate amount of food, and the merest suggestion of affection. As the amount of affection increases, the entertainment can be reduced proportionately. When the affection IS the entertainment, we no longer call it dating. Under no circumstances can the food be omitted.
I never touch sugar, cheese, bread... I only like what I'm allowed to like. I'm beyond temptation. There is no weakness. When I see tons of food in the studio, for us and for everybody, for me it's as if this stuff was made out of plastic. The idea doesn't even enter my mind that a human being could put that into their mouth. I'm like the animals in the forest. They don't touch what they cannot eat.
In any case I just cannot imagine attaching so much importance to any food or treat that I would grow irate or bitter at the mention of the suffering of animals. A pig to me will always seem more important than a pork rind. There is the risk here of confusing realism with cynicism, moral stoicism with moral sloth, of letting oneself become jaded and lazy and self-satisfied--what used to be called an 'appetitive' person.