in THINK | 10 Apr 2017

The pleasure of eating

Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It mirrors the very process of seduction. First there’s the anticipation. The enticement. The flirting. The wafting smells emphasising pangs of hunger. You tentatively take the first bite, the various flavours cumulating on the tip of your tongue. You swirl it around your mouth, savouring the taste of infatuation. Next thing you’re eating with helpless abandon. Slowly or swiftly everything on your plate is devoured. The hunger evaporates. A sense of satisfaction brings a smile of content. You lick your lips relishing the last taste.

Sexual connotations with eating are perhaps not surprising, considering the aphrodisiac properties of many foods. Throughout history foods have been used to enhance pleasure. When tomatoes were first introduced to Italy in the 15th century they were banned by the Pope due to their aphrodisiac properties. Luckily he didn’t know the potent ways of truffles, spicy salami, aged balsamic, artichokes, basil or figs. Modern day Casanova's could also try oysters, chillies, chocolate, avocado or honey to get that blood pumping.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food." George Bernard. That is because we can eat recklessly with selfish abandon, considering no one but ourselves. Food doesn’t have feelings or expectations - it’s there simply to be enjoyed. A Hedonist is a person devoted to the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. Is there such a thing specific to food pleasure?

Foodie is a newly coined term that’s developed as more and more people are appreciating the art of fine wining and dining. People are no longer satisfied with eating for the sake of eating. They want good quality produce, presented well, with surprising flavour combinations - that takes the eating experience to the next level. We want to be seduced by our food, and experience the full pleasure of eating.

The French have perhaps have the best word: the Bon Viveur - someone who enjoys eating good food, and drinking good wine in good company. Eating nourishing food and sharing intimate meals with loved ones, surely that is one of life's greatest joys. Eating is one of the few pleasures you can share with friends and lovers alike.

“People who love to eat are always the best people.” – Julia Child. People who eat freely are often depicted in fiction as being more gregarious, more fun, more carefree.  We are drawn to people like that. Friendships are cemented by a mutual love for cuisines that tantalise our taste buds.

Worldwide there's movement towards greater appreciation for food. We care about eating organic, home grown and being more mindful whilst eating. Maybe, just maybe, if we tap back into a love for food it will help solve many of societies problems with food: less waste, less overeating, less processed foods. Food is like a fine wine. It's best enjoyed slowly with good company.

Next time you eat think of your food like a lover. Savour the sensation of eating using all five senses. It's a pleasure at your disposal that you can enjoy any time of the day. Cultivate a love for eating in your life.