October 2014

Food and Communication Quotes

Len Fisher

Trawling through the large collection of quotes that I might one day use in my writing, I found some off-the-wall examples and examples from unusual sources that are related (more or less) to Food and Communication, and which set me thinking about less conventional approaches to our theme.

For starters:

“Dear God

Can you marry food?


Eric Marshall and Stuart Hample “Children’s Letters to God”.

And then there is Stephen Fry’s thought-provoking metaphor:

“As in food, so in the wider culture. Anything astringent, sharp, complex, ambiguous or difficult is ignored in favour of the colourful, the sweet, the hollow and the simple.

Stephen Fry “The Fry Chronicles”.

Or Pooh’s apparently rather simpler approach;

““When you wake up in the morning, Pooh” said piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

“It’s the same thing,” he said.”

Benjamin Hoff “The Tao of Pooh”.

How we describe our food is an obvious theme, although Terry Pratchett’s literal approach may not recommend itself to all:

“[the restaurant sticks] to conventional food like flightless bird embryos, minced organs in intestine skins, slices of hog flesh and burnt ground grass seeds dipped in animal fats: or, as it is known in their patois, eggs, soss and bacon and a fried slice.”

Terry Pratchett “Mort”.

Talking ABOUT food will undoubtedly be a popular theme:

“One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.”

Laurie Colwin “Home Cooking”.

“You can’t just eat good food. You’ve got to talk about it too. And you’ve got to talk about it to somebody who understands that kind of food.”

Kurt Vonnegut “Jailbird”.

“If you are ever at a loss to support a flagging conversation, introduce the subject of eating.”

Leigh Hunt (1784 – 1859).

Or maybe we could just talk TO our food:

“I talked to a calzone for fifteen minutes last night before I realized it was just an introverted pizza. I wish all my acquaintances were so tasty.”

Jarod Kintz “This Book Has No Title”.

“I moan with pleasure.
“Did you just have a foodgasm?” he asks, wiping ricotta from his lips.
“Where have you been all my life?” I ask the beautiful panini.”

Stephanie Perkins “Anna and the French Kiss”.

Finally, surely there is something to be said for the advantages of NON-communication:

“Oh, the pleasure of eating my dinner alone.”

Charles Lamb.

Maybe Philip Larkin could have the last word on the non-communication, or at least inner communication, theme:

“Seriously, I think it is a grave fault in life that so much time is wasted in social matters, because it not only takes up time when you might be doing individual private things [like eating in solitude!], but it prevents you storing up the psychic energy that can then be released to create art or whatever it is. It’s terrible the way we scotch silence & solitude at every turn, quite suicidal. … It isn’t as if anything was gained by this social frivolity; It isn’t: it’s just a waste.”

Philip Larkin “Letters to Monica”.

Perhaps a totally silent meal might be an interesting idea to try at Oxford 2015!