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Eating

  • Eating without conversation is only stoking.

  • 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?

  • Sharing our meals should be a joyful and a trustful act, rather than the cursory fulfillment of our social obligations.

  • It is not strange, of course, that the act of cutting meat should be invested with much significance and pomp: from the time of the first stone knives, the first raw or roasted carcasses, it is the man of skill and virile prowess who has been the one to dole out what meat was mete for his dependents. But the art of carving is one that, when learned at all, must be practiced faithfully, and few families now have either the ovens or the appetites (given the incomes) for haunches and hams big enough to work on. My father is one of four or five men I know who still make a little show, a kind of precise ballet, of carving, and since our family has shrunk with the passage of time and peace and war he has few chances in a year to stand up to a bird or a great roast of beef. When he does, it is a noble performance, and one that rightly should be done to the sound of trumpets.

    • M.F.K. Fisher,
    • in Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste ()
  • ... sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

  • A complete lack of caution is perhaps one of the true signs of a real gourmet ...

  • ... gastronomy is and always has been connected with its sister art of love.

  • Probably no strychnine has sent as many husbands into their graves as mealtime scolding has, and nothing has driven more men into the arms of other women than the sound of a shrill whine at table.

  • ... gastronomical perfection can be reached in these combinations: one person dining alone, usually upon a couch or a hill side; two people, of no matter what sex or age, dining in a good restaurant; six people, of no matter what sex or age, dining in a good home.

  • ... since we must eat to live, we might as well do it with both grace and gusto.

  • Deborah doesn't know yet that all you need to eat with is your mouth. She's under the impression that it requires the entire face ...

  • To eat together is one of the greatest promoters of intimacy. It is the satisfaction in common of a material necessity of existence, and if you seek a loftier meaning in it, it is a communion ...

  • My stomach is of many minds; / It believes everything it eats.

  • When one has an honest appetite all food tastes good: shrimps Newburg with hot rolls and alligator pear salad, or black bread and sour cheese.

  • The sharing of food is the basis of social life, and to many people it is the only kind of social life worth participating in.

  • I will never eat fish eyeballs, and I do not want to taste anything commonly kept as a house pet, but otherwise I am a cinch to feed.

  • The table is a meeting place, a gathering ground, the source of sustenance and nourishment, festivity, safety, and satisfaction.

  • I don't use the word gourmet. The word doesn't mean anything anymore. 'Gourmet' makes it sound like someone is putting sherry wine in the corn-flake casserole.

  • Eating reveals the characteristic grossness of the human race and also the in-built failure of its satisfactions. We arrive eager, we stuff ourselves and we go away depressed and disappointed and probably feeling a bit queasy into the bargain. It's an image of the déçu in human existence. A greedy start and a stupefied finish. Waiters, who are constantly observing this cycle, must be the most disillusioned of men.

  • ... I would, if I could, always feed to music. The singularly graceless action of thus filling one's body with roots and dead animals and powdered grain is given some significance then. One can perform as a ritual what one is shamed to do as a utilitarian action ...

    • Winifred Holtby,
    • 1924, in Alice Holtby and Jean McWilliam, eds., Letters to a Friend ()
  • Birth is beastly — and death — and digestion, if it comes to that. Sometimes when I think of what's happening inside me to a beautiful suprème de sole, with the caviare in boats, and the croûtons and the jolly little twists of potato and all the gadgets — I could cry. But there it is, don't you know.

  • He always thought best while eating well too; with him, as with many others, high living and high thinking went together, or would have, only lack of the necessary financial and cerebral means precluded much practice of either.

  • Another sad comestive truth is that the best foods are the products of infinite and wearying trouble. The trouble need not be taken by the consumer, but someone, ever since the Fall, has had to take it.

  • When shopping at Dunkin' Donuts, pretend you are the mother of nine. Say things like, 'Little David likes cream-filled and Susie wanted jelly.' That way, no one will be suspicious when you order a dozen donuts with one cup of coffee to go.

  • Eating is never so simple as hunger.

  • ... she had discovered that the food you eat out of its saucepan tastes infinitely better than ever it does by the time it has been conveyed to a dining-room and withered under a conversational host.

  • We are rich earthy cooks / both of us and the flesh we are working / off was put on with grave pleasure.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "Morning athletes," The Moon Is Always Female ()
  • Not that hunger does a cook justice. 'I do not like people that are hungry,' says Ude; 'hungry people eat any thing: I would have my dishes create, of themselves, an appetite; I do not wish them to be wanted till they are tasted, and then to eat is a compliment.'

  • It is curious how inseparable eating and kindness are with some people.

  • We do not desecrate the dish by serving any other, neither salad nor dessert. We just eat crab Newburg. My friends rise from the table, wring my hand with deep feeling, and slip quietly and reverently away. I sit alone and weep for the misery of a world that does not have blue crabs and a Jersey cow.

  • Two elements enter into successful and happy gatherings at table. The food, whether simple or elaborate, must be carefully prepared; willingly prepared; imaginatively prepared. And the guests — friends, family or strangers — must be conscious of their welcome.

  • He was the delight of fine cooks, who took his absent-minded capacity for appreciation.

  • The family ate hugely, they were like a school of voracious fish feeding under the sea of chatter.

  • Where hunger is imposed by external circumstances, the act of starvation remains literal, a tragic biological event that does not serve metaphoric or symbolic purposes. It is only in a country where one is able to choose hunger that elective starvation may come to express cultural conflict or even social protest.

  • Fifine was a frank gourmand; anybody could win her heart through her palate.

  • ... the best way to remember a beautiful city or a beautiful painting is to eat something while you are looking at it. The flavor really helps the image to penetrate the body. It fixes it as lacquer does a drawing.

  • ... there are many ways of eating, for some eating is living for some eating is dying, for some thinking about ways of eating gives to them the feeling that they have it in them to be alive and to be going on living, to some to think about eating makes them know that death is always waiting that dying is in them.

  • ... eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.

  • We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.

  • There's nothing on earth to do here but look at the view and eat. You can imagine the result since I do not like to look at views.

  • My grandmother would croon over every scrap of meat on a sparerib like a medieval relic hunter musing on the knucklebone of a saint.

    • Rose Quiello,
    • "Dedicated to An Old Friend Whose Kindness I Shall Never Forget," in Regina Barreca, ed., Don't Tell Mama! ()
  • Food became the antidote for feelings of guilt, sadness, and anger. ... Food is a resolution to controversy; food is rescue. We ate and talked and cried and laughed in the kitchen and ate again. This was about more than just food. It was about our mom making connections the best she could and in the way she knew best across the kitchen table, across time and across sadness.

    • Rose Quiello,
    • "Dedicated to An Old Friend Whose Kindness I Shall Never Forget," in Regina Barreca, ed., Don't Tell Mama! ()

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  • If you don't eat chicken with your fingers you lose half the flavor.

    • ,
    • in Gertrude Berg and Myra Waldo, The Molly Goldberg Jewish Cookbook ()
  • While men's appetites are driven by availability, women's are often driven by cravings. A dab of chocolate here, a pinch of sugar there, and some surreptitious midnight Dairy Queen runs lurk behind a woman's oh-so-virtuous bran breakfast, salad lunch, and grilled fish dinner.

    • Wendy Hubbert,
    • "The Skinny on Male/Female Dieting," in Redbook ()
  • She could still taste the plump fine oysters from Zeeland that he had ordered for her last meal in the world, the dry sparkle of the vintage Rudesheimer which had cost him the fees of at least five visits to patients, and the ice cream richly sauced with crushed glazed chestnuts which she loved.

  • Food is neither your enemy nor your best friend. It won't mend your broken heart and it won't send you to hell.

    • Emme,
    • in Emme and Natasha Stoynoff, Life's Little Emergencies ()
  • We believe that the bigger the group that is eating, the bigger your appetite will be. We eat off one big tray set in the center, each person taking food with their right hand and throwing it into their mouth. We'd sit outside in the fresh air, drinking milk fresh from the cow, and eating meat fresh from the animals and vegetables fresh from the gardens. In our village eating was a celebration of good food, good company, good conversation, and good health.

    • Halima Bashir,
    • in Halima Bashir with Damien Lewis, Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur ()
  • ... my own relationships with the animals in my life are absurdly complex: Some I love, some I eat, and the scraps left over from the ones I eat, I feed to the ones I love.

  • When it comes to food, there are two large categories of eaters, those who do not worry about what they eat but should, and those who do worry about what they eat but should not.

    • Carol Tavris,
    • "Eaten Up With Fear," in Times Literary Supplement ()
  • There were two objects of conversation; one was the food they were eating and the other was the food they had eaten at other times.

    • Jean Stafford,
    • "Maggie Meriwether's Rich Experience," The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford ()
  • Eating outdoors makes for good health and long life and good temper, everyone knows that.

  • ... will there ever be a drama more beautiful than that of eating?

  • In this family, food is the recreational drug of choice.

  • I'm inclined to think that eating is a private thing and should be done alone, like other bodily functions ...

  • ... I have been in Paris for almost a week and I have not heard anyone say calories, or cholesterol, or even arterial plaque. The French do not season their food with regret.

  • If no one saw — it didn't count. It's only when you eat in front of strangers or people that make you feel guilty that food is really fattening.

  • Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.

    • Ernestine Ulmer,
    • in John Cook and Leslie Ann Gibson, eds., The Book of Positive Quotations ()
  • Fasting and feasting are universal human responses, and any meal, shared with love, can be an agape.

  • A meal, however simple, is a moment of intersection. It is at once the most basic, the most fundamental, of our life's activities, maintaining the life of our bodies; shared with others it can be an occasion of joy and communion, uniting people deeply.

  • Little snax / Bigger slax.

    • Ruth S. Schenley,
    • in Leonard Louis Levinson, ed., Bartlett's Unfamiliar Quotations ()
  • When we eat the good bread, we are eating months of sunlight, weeks of rain and snow from the sky, richness out of the earth. We should be great, each of us radiant, full of music and full of stories. Able to run the way clouds do, able to dance like the snow and the rain. But nobody takes time to think that he eats all these things and that sun, rain, snow are all a part of himself.

  • We started with a platter of mixed meats, most of which looked and tasted like they'd made their getaway from the local cobbler.

  • Whistling, humming, singing at the table may be an indication of cheerfulness, but it is also one of thoughtlessness, and hence is distinctly ill-mannered.

  • They sat at a corner table in the little restaurant, eating with gusto and noise after the manner of simple-hearted people who like their neighbours to see and know their pleasures.

  • I constantly walk into a room and I don't remember why. But for some reason, I think there's going to be a clue in the fridge.

  • ... I eat till, honest, I felt every button on all my clo'es. The folks where we were stayin' were the old-fashioned hospitable kind; they didn't let you off till your jaws struck work and wouldn't wag no more.

  • ... it's a great country. ... Me and my wife spent a month with friends in Tacoma just before we come away, and honest! we hardly had our knives out of our mouths all the time we were there. They couldn't hardly let you stop eatin' to get your sleep.

  • Parson Legg crunched away at the venison and corn bread, — doing this with more gusto than was pleasant for either eye or ear.

  • Cantonese will eat anything in the sky but airplanes, anything in the sea but submarines, and anything with four legs but the table.

  • No sauce equals appetite.

  • The art of Good Eating has two essential points: one must eat only when one is hungry, and one must take small bites.

  • 'One can never be too rich or too thin' is an aphorism attributed to the Duchess of Windsor. Being both rich and thin is a difficult enterprise, indeed almost unprecedented as an ideal. Into the paradoxical gap between the capacity to spend money and the need to eat less steps a brilliant solution: 'light' food. In buying 'light' food we can pay more for what costs less to produce in the first place ...

  • Animals are murdered to produce meat; vegetables are torn up, peeled, and chopped; most of what we eat is treated with fire; and chewing is designed remorselessly to finish what killing and cooking began. People naturally prefer that none of this should happen to them. Behind every rule of table etiquette lurks the determination of each person present to be a diner, not a dish.

  • Eating is aggressive by nature, and the implements required for it could quickly become weapons; table manners are, most basically, a system of taboos designed to ensure that violence remains out of the question.

  • We use eating as a medium for social relationships: satisfaction of the most individual of needs becomes a means of creating community.

  • 'Are you sick?' my mother would ask if I left a scrap from a 12 ounce Delmonico. You weren't considered fed unless you were in pain. The more somebody loved you, the more they wanted you to eat.

  • Recipe for a long life: Be careful not to exceed the feed limit.

  • You ought to try eating raw oysters in a restaurant with every eye focused upon you — it makes you feel as if the creatures were whales, your fork a derrick and your mouth Mammouth Cave.

    • Lillian Russell,
    • in Marie Dressler, The Life Story of an Ugly Duckling ()
  • ... I am more than ever convinced that what we eat today is what we are tomorrow.

  • One's palate is reborn every morning!

  • Well, next thing she took a fit about was gettin' Guffey to eat with his fork. Seems where she'd come from they didn't eat off their knives — not even pie.

  • Half my patients would dig their graves with their teeth if they were left alone.

  • ... surfeits kill more than fasting does ...

    • Dorothy Osborne,
    • 1653, in G.C. Moore Smith, Letters of Dorothy Osborne to William Temple ()
  • ... when in doubt, eat.

  • Good food is a celebration of life, and it seems absurd to me that in celebrating life we should take life. That is why I don't eat flesh. I see no need for killing.

  • She ate like a pirate three times a day.

  • More than thrift spurred me some summers to fill jars with pickles, fruit, and relishes. I was not the only one. You could walk down our alley and through open windows see bare-armed women sweating in kitchens, muscles popping up as they lifted hot jars out of the canning kettle, and you could smell the sharp vinegar and sweet fruit. ... You wanted to make something beautiful that would last. To retrieve something enduring from a hot day otherwise lost to children's ravenous need and many small failures. You wanted to save something. ... My jars of pickled beets had about them such a stained-glass-window ecclesiastic radiance that I used to say I wouldn't be surprised to find creatures from a crèche scene rise up, gather bundles, and walk out of the jar. ... You were not just making pickles or jam, you were making a memory. You were canning days that otherwise got lost. When winter's blossom-sized flakes drifted down on bare trees and you put pickles out onto the table or spread peach jam across a muffin, you were opening a photograph album. You were eating memory.

  • We tend to think sexual intercourse, momentarily joining two bodies, is the most physically intimate human act. Preparing meals for another person, in its own way, is more intimate, so much so that I sometimes wonder that we dare eat what strangers feed us. Bare hands rub and finger the cabbage and carrots and raw meat. Sweat on your palms, so slight that not even you feel it, carries our body salts and other castoffs into everything you touch. Skin flakes so small you'd need a microscope to see them drift off your hands and arms and face, down onto the dinner's ingredients. Eight-legged skin mites, for whom our shed skin is a perpetual feast, ride atop these skin flakes, munching and defecating and copulating and giving birth and dying. Breath and entire kingdoms of submicrosopic creatures alive in exhalations scatter and make camp across the ingredients' surfaces. The foods you prepare, together with these outfalls, cross the threshold of a guest's mouth (which in the case of most guests you would never consider kissing, other than lightly, on the lips). All this then enters the digestive tract ...

  • ... we dig our graves with our teeth.

  • Food is the most primitive form of comfort.

  • This is a business meal. The calories do not count. I am mentally labeling these as 'business calories' so my body will know they were eaten in the line of duty and will process them differently.

  • Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is of great importance to the morale.

  • The interest in good meals is universal.

  • What you eat today walks and talks tomorrow.

    • Esther Blumenfeld,
    • in Lynne Alpern and Esther Blumenfeld, Oh, Lord, I Sound Just Like Mama ()
  • There is small danger of being starved in our land of plenty; but the danger of being stuffed is imminent ...

  • ... I won't go to a restaurant to eat with friends, always join them afterwards for coffee. In company I always get over enthusiastic, and this leads to indigestion.

  • When we eat / we are like / everyone else.

  • Ralph ate too much; he was already too heavy for his age. ... Ralph was a regular Crewfrew, like his mother — people who were always digging their graves with their teeth.

  • Our ignorance in attaining health lies chiefly in not knowing what to put in our stomachs.

  • What greater restoratives have we poor mortals than a good meal taken in the company of loving friends?

  • I hate skinny women, especially when they say things like 'Sometimes I forget to eat.' Now, I've forgotten my mother's maiden name, and my keys, but you've got to be a special kind of stupid to forget to eat!

    • Marsha Warfield,
    • in Bruce Lansky, ed., Laugh Twice and Call Me in the Morning ()
  • ... in America, far too large a portion of the diet consists of animal food. As a nation, the Americans are proverbial for the gross and luxurious diet with which they load their tables; and there can be no doubt that the general health of the nation would be increased by a change in our customs in this respect.

  • ... intemperance in eating is one of the most fruitful of all causes of disease and death.

  • ... a person must not eat to satiety, but must leave the table a trifle hungry. An hour after one has eaten, he finds that the 'still hungry feeling' is usually gone.

  • Sometimes one sees people butter their slices of bread with long, slow, admiring strokes in the same way in which Tom Sawyer's friends whitewashed the fence. Never butter an entire slice of bread at one time ...

    • Mary E. Clark,
    • in Mary E. Clark and Margery Closey Quigley, Etiquette Every Child Should Know ()
  • The lurking tragedy: The chances are that an accident will some day happen to you at a friend's dinner table ... As long as water and coffee and jelly exist, a certain percentage of each will necessarily be overturned upon a like number of snowy white tablecloths. Usually the tragedy is really no one's fault.

    • Mary E. Clark,
    • in Mary E. Clark and Margery Closey Quigley, Etiquette Every Child Should Know ()
  • Must it be said that napkins are laid across the lap and never tucked under the chin, bib fashion? If one has to wear a bib, he should not accept invitations to dine away from home.

  • If we aren't supposed to eat animals, then why are they made out of meat?

  • When I found out we are what we eat, I stopped eatin' pig cracklin's and sow belly.

    • Judy Canova,
    • in Mary Unterbrink, Funny Women: American Comediennes, 1860-1985 ()
  • Dining alone is one of life's pleasures. Certainly cooking for oneself reveals man at his weirdest. People lie when you ask them what they eat when they are alone. A salad, they tell you. But when you persist, they confess to peanut butter and bacon sandwiches deep fried and eaten with hot sauce, or spaghetti with butter and grape jam.

  • No cook can ignore the opinion of a man who asks for three helpings. One is politeness, two is hunger, but three is a true and cherished compliment.

  • Eating is enjoying food. Overeating is when you no longer taste the food.