“I’m so hungry I could eat a horse and chase the rider.” -Old Saying
“A hungry stomach cannot hear.” -Jean de La Fontaine
“Breaking bread together” is an old phrase, but its simplicity is the message.
If you are hungry, any food will suffice. “Hunger is the best sauce,” someone smarter than me quipped. Hungry people don’t moan about what and where to eat; if they do, it’s kept short and grouchily pronounced.
If you’re happy, bread with wine or dipped in oil is enough to fill you. And if you’re not, no amount of food will create a smile.
If you are lonely, companionship will overfill your plate. People are the food of our souls.
I love great food. Who doesn’t?
But I love simple food, made without stress and shared.
And if I meet with someone or a group to eat, the presence of others is supposed to be the essential element.
X’s Rule On Group Dining: You will dislike eating with at least one person in any group of more than four people.
I’m not opposed to opulent multi-course meals.
Who would be?
But if they require effort not joyfully given, they take away someone’s time and life to prepare.
It’s one of the principal problems with holiday meals or get-togethers.
Traditions inevitably beget obligation.
Often, what was once freely done becomes taxing and vexation.
Complexity and expectations detract from someone’s enjoyment.
It should always be about the presence of faces on one’s couch or around the table, no matter how luxurious it might be. Everyone’s house is lived in, messy, and full of life’s surprises that no one has the time or interest in rectifying. Unless you are eating off the mantle, leave the dust for later.
And be merry inasmuch as your circumstances permit.
Because, well, you know.
Tomorrow ye may die.
Whether you’ve eaten like a gourmand or like a ravenous teenager with his hand in the bottom of a bag, it will not be what you remember as the wrinkles accumulate across your face.
Humble food is the joy. And if someone wishes to make a feast joyfully, even better.
“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relatives.”
– Oscar Wilde
“Almost all happy people I know decide where and what to eat easily, graciously, and without complaint. And if they find themselves in the home of another with friends, family, or loved ones, they make do. Unless they are visiting cannibals, vegans, or Presbyterians.” – X
“It is the faces, not the places, that matter.” – X
PS “Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.” -Mark Twain