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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Gluttony: Does ordering off-menu count?

Still Life: Excess  (By Albert Anker) 
In the famous scene from When Harry Met Sally (no, not that one), Sally tells the waitress:  I’ll have the chef salad, please, with the oil and vinegar on the side.  She then continues with a host of other instructions regarding her apple pie a la mode.  The question is this:  Does specifying where the ice cream should be placed constitute a form of gluttony?

According to Thomas Aquinas, it does.  His list of gluttonous variations seems as extensive as Sally’s restaurant order.  According to Wikipedia, Aquinas’ “six ways to gluttony” include the following:  eating too soon, too expensively, too much, too eagerly, too daintily, and too wildly.  In his Summa Theologiae,
Aquinas went so far as to declare that gluttony is diametrically opposed to reason - and therefore to moral virtue, as well.

The nineteenth-century Russian Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov left no gall stone unturned concerning the sorry fate of gluttons.  Chew on this for a while to offset that next gastronomic craving:  Wise temperance of the stomach is a door to all the virtues…  But if you please and pamper your stomach, you will hurl yourself over the precipice of bodily impurity, into the fire of wrath and fury…  Not only that - on this greasy slide to gourmet hell you will also “coarsen and darken your mind, and in this way you will ruin your powers of attention and self-control, your sobriety and vigilance.”

Lest you delude yourself into thinking that all this was merely old-fashioned superstition, here are some modern-day warnings from dietician Sian Porter.  In his article CSI: Fridge, Porter depicts the average “ordinary healthy fridge” as a crime scene.  He then lists some “offenders” that are routinely found within its evil coffers:  fruit juice, dried fruit, cereal bars, and olives.  These seemingly-innocent seductresses lure
unsuspecting victims with their sweet looks and salty ways.  And leftovers?  Porter saves this best shot for them:  Cooking too much food inevitably leads to gluttony in the second degree…


Copyright October 4, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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