Saturday, September 11, 2010


The new Jewish year began this week. Traditionally, these adjacent days are a time of introspection. In that spirit, I offer my Credo.

You’ve heard it said that some people live to eat and others eat to live. The implication is that those who eat to live are more virtuous, less self-absorbed, more real. As someone who unashamedly lives to eat, I wish to restore some balance, except on the scales perhaps.

Those who eat to live are hurried, indiscriminate, even furtive in ingesting just barely enough nutrition to get them back to the grindstone. "I’m too busy living, so I don’t have time to eat," they seem to be proclaiming. But, I believe that their version of living is riddled with doubt and guilt. Did I eat too much? Did I take too much time to eat? Did anyone see me enjoying myself? Will someone take my shovel while I am off eating? Can I skip eating? What are those other people eating? None of these questions arise for me, except possibly the last, if I don’t recognize the concoction at a nearby table.

A plausible rationale for those who eat to live is that it allows them more time to do good for others, as they are released from the table quickly. I don’t accept that distinction. My abundant eating aids farmers all over the world, wholesale food merchants, the transportation industry, chefs, waiters, bus boys (bus persons? busters?), cashiers, restaurant owners and, of course, the tax collectors who occasionally get a piece of the action. I am a one-man bailout. Other than finding a cure for cancer, nothing I could do with my time helps more people on our home planet.

So, go ahead and ess, kinder. Enjoy pagato’, iskrem, baghbaghag, suet go and fagylalt. In case you don't immediately recognize these words, it's how you say "ice cream" in Greek, Norwegian, Armenian, Cantonese and Hungarian, which certainly should prove helpful.

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