From a purely, simplified and functional point of view, “eating,” is merely the ingestion of food for supplying energy or for growth. We have not been apprised of any living organism on the Planet that does not eat or imbibe something, from roast goose to plankton to sunlight and water. The first priority of most living organisms, empirically, is the existential search for nutritional sustenance. Regarding, Humankind, however, eating, has, yet, an additional, implicit and situationally, relevant, rhetoric.
[Dining with others, a societal statement] In parts of the world when food is readily available, eating in the company of others, takes on additional significance by implicitly, or symbolically, communicating various positive social assurances. Holidays, religious and secular, among other traditional or historical, observances, ordinarily feature a celebratory meal. [Signifying, unity and commonality.] Birthdays, anniversary and graduation dinners, are social occasions, often yielding a sizeable guest list. [Expressing the experience of familiar and shared lives.] Exceptionally intimate, pleasant dinners are later, recalled, in the context of nostalgic, social milestones. [Life can indeed, be pleasant] Picnics are primarily, purposed as outdoor social gatherings to further promote close relationship, [we are a uniquely tight community in any venue] similarly, dining out with others at a restaurant, viz., “breaking bread” together, [our lives are shared in friendly communality] develops and cements friendly relationships. Some studies have indicated that, mutually, eating the same food actually solidifies friendship and trust. [We share the same reality]. There are also basic foods, usually eaten in childhood days, viz., chicken soup, hot cereal, scrambled eggs, French toast, called, “comfort foods,” which are eaten in times of stress. The nature of the [implicit] message, required, will vary, with the context of the occasion.
[Societal preoccupation with Food has made it, descriptively, adjectival]. Food is so much, “top of mind,” that it has become part of our spoken lexicon, with especial reference to judgmental and adjectival (analogous) speech, viz., “sour grapes,” ”it was a bitter pill,” ”a bread and butter issue,” “the bitter end,”” sweet smell of success,” “his new car turned out to be a lemon,” food for thought,” “sour grapes,” “take it with a grain of salt,” don’t cry over spilt milk,” “ it was a piece of cake,” “ let’s break bread together,” “on it, like white on rice,” “they found themselves in a difficult stew,” and many other, choice, “caloric” expressions; the culinary arts have provided an expressive tool in verbal interaction.
[Food and mood] Choice of food, at times, may be an expression of transitory mood, i.e., “It’s too late for a heavy meal,” “It’s a good afternoon for Chinese” (food), “I don’t have much time, let’s do pizza, “ “It’s so cold, I want soup,” “ I am not really hungry, let’s just order a salad,” “ I always hated the aggressive sight of lobster,” “ Not her tuna noodle casserole, again!,” “I can’t eat Mexican (food) it is too hot,” “But we had roast beef yesterday,” “she absolutely hates deli’s,” “Let’s not eat out tonight.” Unless a member of the dinner party is actually, allergic, to a proposed style of cuisine, the final decision should fairly be determined by majority vote, absent political, claims of voter intimidation or fraud.
[Food as an empathic route to World peace] Among our earliest mini-essays was one entitled, “THE OATMEAL SOLUTION,” which was, and still is, an expression of our premier choice of peacekeeping solutions, which exists, as well, an expression of moral empathy with the food-challenged portions of the globe. Following the Second World War, our being driven along the Henry Hudson Parkway, would reveal, a vast “Armada,” of “mothballed” veteran Navy Vessels, stationary and inactively, parked afloat, in New York’s Hudson River. We are advised that the veteran Navy ships have, since, been transferred to Virginia, where they, as previously, engaged, continue to listlessly, and uselessly, bob up and down, in inactive, retirement.
To repeat, there appears to exist many discrete venues on the planet, where human beings are eternally food challenged, such as: Haiti, Yemen, Ethiopia, and many others; and as well, other areas, severely, challenged by devastating storms and other meteorological misfortune, attributable to, or augmented by global warming. We have always been of the view that the Federal government might recondition and sanitize such mothballed, Navy Vessels, so that they be fit to transport large quantities of needed, healthful, food, (for example, cooked Oatmeal) to the many food -challenged peoples.
In addition to the latter, being a morally, satisfying, empathic act, such a program would, predictably, contribute to our longtime aspirations to the invaluable goal of World Peace.
* Sincere apologies regarding the title, to Marshal McLuhan, author of “The Medium is the Message”