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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Gluttony by The Zenful Kitchen

Although this article is not a recipe, it pertains to cooking/baking and eating. Interesting read.

"I came across this quote this morning by M F K Fisher, an American food writer, who wrote, “It is a curious fact that no man likes to call himself a glutton, and yet each of us has in him a trace of gluttony, potential or actual. I cannot believe that there exists a single coherent human being who will not confess, at least to himself, that once or twice he has stuffed himself to bursting point on anything from quail financiere to flapjacks, for no other reason than the beastlike satisfaction of his belly.”  I had to smile when I read this quote because I know that for myself this is so true. While I have never stuffed myself to the bursting point on quail financiere, nor have I ever had it, I have stuffed myself to that point on lobster in clarified butter, shrimp cocktail, sushi, sashimi, scallops, and a few other items, which just seem to scream more when I am eating them.

So why is it that we have all had our gluttonous moments, but none of us likes to own them? Why it is that we each have those stories of eating our way to this space of beastlike satisfaction of our belly, but we do not feel free to openly talk about it or share those moments, or to even acknowledge the possibility of their existence? Perhaps one of the reasons is because gluttony has been described by many spiritual writers as one of the seven deadly sins. Most people do not like to acknowledge participating in these sins during their daily lives.

However, I would argue that food is not the only thing that people consumer voraciously for the wrong reason. St. John of the Cross suggested there are those who pray with the same gluttonous motivation as food. The gluttonous are addicted to prayer and strive for pleasure in prayer, yet when "they have not found this pleasure they become greatly discouraged thinking they have accomplished nothing."Gluttonous prayers, pray for the sake of pleasure. They pray for a direct reward and an immediate feeling of satisfaction and purity. This is the heart of spiritual gluttony; religious practices and rituals are performed for the wrong reasons.

So why do we engage in any religious or spiritual practice or ritual? Is it a momentary gluttony or an ongoing and addictive gluttonous behavior? St. John described addictive spiritual gluttons as those, "expending all their effort in seeking spiritual pleasure and consolation, they never tire, therefore, of reading books; and they begin now one meditation, now another, in their pursuit of this pleasure which they desire to experience in the things of God". There have been moments in my spiritual life where I am on this quest to learn and can’t stop reading and praying, but it is on a quest to grow and evolve for specific reasons, not just for the quest to achieve just to achieve, or to pray just to pray.  However, it does make one thing about if and where we are gluttons in our life."