Thursday, October 26, 2006

Eating on the Run

Leon Kass, The Hungry Soul: Eating and the Perfecting of Our Nature (Free Press, 1994):

“We see clearly what is culturally and spiritually at stake in certain current habits of eating. We face serious dangers from our increasingly utilitarian, functional, or ‘economic’ attitudes toward food. True, fast food, TV dinners, and eating on the run save time, meet our need for ‘fuel,’ and provide close to instant gratification. But for these very reasons, they diminish opportunities for conversation, communion, and aesthetic discernment; they thus shortchange the other hungers of the soul. Disposable utensils and paper plates save labor at the price of refinement, and also symbolically deny memory and permanence their rightful places at the table. Meals eaten before the television set turn eating into feeding. Wolfing down food dishonors both the human effort to prepare it and the lives of those plants and animals sacrificed on our behalf. Not surprisingly, incivility, insensitivity, and ingratitude learned at the family table can infect all other aspects of one’s life.”

(HT: Ken Myers)