Monday, August 06, 2007

ART OF EATING | Why Do You Write About Hunger

People ask me: Why do you write about food, and eating and drinking? Why don't you write about the struggle for power and security, and about love, the way others do?

They ask it accusingly, as if I were somehow gross, unfaithful to the honor of my craft.

The easiest answer is to say that, like most other humans, I am hungry. But there is more than that. It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it ... and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied ... and it is all one.

I tell about myself, and how I ate bread on a lasting hillside, or drank red wine in a room now blown to bits, and it happens without my willing it that I am telling too about the people with me then, and their other deeper needs for love and happiness.

There is food in the bowl, and more often than not, because of what honesty I have, there is nourishment in the heart, to feed the wilder, more insistent hungers. We must eat. If, in the face of that dread fact, we can find other nourishment, and tolerance and compassion for it, we'll be no less full of human dignity.

There is a communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk. And that is my answer, when people ask me: Why do you write about hunger, and not wars or love?


~ Foreword to The Gastronomical Me, by M.F.K. Fisher

6 comments:

Carl V. said...

Wow, that is great!

Dark Orpheus said...

Isn't it? Makes me just want to go out and eat something nice and really enjoy it too. ;p

jenclair said...

You just keep tempting to open my M.F.K. Fisher books before time for the challenge! Great quote!

jean pierre said...

and, yeah, it doesn't always have to be about "war and love"...!

Dark Orpheus said...

Jeanclair The only way to resist temptation is to give in to it. Think of my posts as the foreplay to the day you finally read The Art of Eating. Reading Fisher made me reconsider the food memories in my life. And when you finally come to The Gastronomical Me, you will want to read it slowly, to stretch out this wonderful meal, to make it last forever.

Jean Pierre Well, food is about love.

jean pierre said...

haa... !