Philosophy of Phood
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Thread: Philosophy of Phood

  1. #1
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    Philosophy of Phood

    "I eat, therefore I expand. Edito ergo boom."
    ]

    This statement, from Rene Descartes' great Discourse on Flan (1643), stands at the very heart of Western gastro-ontological thought. Is there "food"? What is "food"? And how long do you cook it? These are the perennial questions. Descartes was probably recalling the famous dictum from Aristotle's Guide to Cheap Nicomachean Restaurants (353 B.C.): "I eat therefore there must be food, or else I'd be pretty hungry by now."

    Even before Aristotle, Socrates began the food fight in Plato's Brunch by claiming that the chicken before him was not true chicken, but merely the corporeal form of a higher, ideal chicken he'd had at a place in Thebes. His exchange with Aristartchon, and Athenian waiter, is worth quoting in full:

    SOC.: I'll have the chicken sandwich and a pair of potatoes.
    ARIS.: A pair of potatoes?
    SOC.: I'm a peripatetic philosopher.
    ARIS.: And yet our rulers call you a polis joke.
    SOC.: O cute Athenian youth, in this life we are as in a cave, and see but the shadow of meals being eaten outside. If that's not bad enough, theirs is better, and they don't deliver.

    Lao Tzu staked out the Eastern position in his Tao Te Wings (c. Thursday, 550 B.C.): "The sandwich is an illusion, only the Way is real. And even the Way is looking kinda doubtful." Unfortunately, the ancient Chinese character for "Way" can also be translated as "white meat." Stanton translates the same maxim as "What is chutney?" The gist, however, seems clear.

    Then there is the fascinating chapter on snacks in St. Augustine's Confessions: "If someone inquires of me, what is a pork rind, I know. But if I am asked to explain pork rinds, they are a great mystery. consider also shortcake--the longer one eats it, the shorter it gets. And yet the shorter one eats it, the shortcake does not lengthen. Uneaten shortcake should be of infinite length, or are my calculations off? Oh who can fathom the ways of the Almighty?" Unfortunately, the Latin word for "way" can also be translated as "flatulence caused by peanuts." The gist seems clear.

    Spinoza was converted to the study of philosophy by being served a notorious and influential bowl of chicken soup in Leipzig in 1652. "There were spinach leaves floating in the bowl," he writes. "In a moment I realized that this chicken soup had a more meaningful existence than I, who had no spinach in me, and I set out to find the meaning of life. But first I had some herring."

    The British empirical school cast doubt on the very existence of food, so it's not surprising they were a pretty scrawny lot. John Locke believed that we are born "without prior knowledge of chickens" but that we can be persuaded by advertising. David Hume believed that there is no way for us to truly recognize "a chicken," but then he was shortsighted and known to stick his fork into his own hand. Berkelely believed that chickens only exist in the mind of God, though he conceded that the mind of God was somehow available in Covent Garden market for 60 pence a pound. ("If a tree falls on a chicken and nobody heres or sees it," he wrote, "can I legally take the chicken home?") It took the immortal Kant to resolve the matter in his Critique of Puree, where he wrote that the human mind is preconditioned by nature to perceive four essentials: time, space, time for lunch, and space for dessert. He also noted that the human mind instinctively perceives the right side of the menu first.

    "Man is everywhere free," Rousseau wrote in 1771 in Cooking with Wine, "yet everywhere is part of a food chain." Unfortunately, the manuscript is unclear, and he may have written, "yet everywhere he buys his groceries from chains." The gist seems clear. Politico-polemical food literature dates back to Cicero's De Gustibus, usually translated as Of Taste, or Mind Your Own Buisiness. It culminates in Marx's Kapital, now largely dismissed as an economic analysis but very good on sauces.

    The modern cuisino-philosophical tradition begins with Nietzche and his controversial recipe for meat loaf in Thus Baked Zarathustra, inteded as a slap at Wagner's bratwurst. Out of Nietzche comes Sartre and the French existential school of cooking (7 Rue Jacob, Paris, write for details). Their works can be heavy, rich with distinctions between "eating-in-itself," "eating-for-itself," and "eating-with-somebody-else" until we reach the noubelle existentialism of the 1970's, led by Derrida's decorative if unsatisfying plates of lo-cal nothing.

    Ludwig Wittgenstein (who incidently made great kreplach) influenced generations of philosopher-cooks with his Tractatus Logico-Esophagus. There, he investigated the relationship between language and food, deploying his arguments in number propositions:

    3.1 "I call it spinach" is not a meaningful sentence unless one is referring to the cantos of Ezra Pound.

    3.2 If one says, "You'll eat your words" to Joyce Carol Oates, she will be chewing a very long time.

    3.3 If one shuffles those cantos and those novels, does one get "a pound of oats"?

    3.4 Are the oats edible?

    3.5 Why not?

    3.6 Where did I leave the word for "spatula"?

    Finally there is the great twentieth-century synthesis, Rombauer's two-volume Joy of Cooking. Traditionalist in flavor but with a modern rigor in the ingredient lists, this is one of the monuments of world philosophy. At this point one might quote the famous closing proposition of Wittgenstein's Culinary Investigations: "Shut up and eat."

    (--David Ives)

    Another long humorous (to me) writing. Enjoy

    God bless,
    --PhirePhreak
    I know you\'re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you\'re afraid. You\'re afraid of us. You\'re afraid of change. I don\'t know the future. I didn\'t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it\'s going to begin. I\'m going to hang up this phone, and then I\'m going to show these people what you don\'t want them to see. I\'m going to show them a world without you, a world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.

  2. #2
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    LMAO! You're on the ball today PhirePhreak!

  3. #3
    Webius Designerous Indiginous
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    lol... woohoo.. i'm hungry.. or am I? I may never know now.

  4. #4
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    *chuckle*
    I know you\'re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you\'re afraid. You\'re afraid of us. You\'re afraid of change. I don\'t know the future. I didn\'t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it\'s going to begin. I\'m going to hang up this phone, and then I\'m going to show these people what you don\'t want them to see. I\'m going to show them a world without you, a world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.

  5. #5
    Fastest Thing Alive s0nIc's Avatar
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    hmm hunger is a state of mind.. think of some food that u hate.. and imagine you're surrounded by it.. then you wont be hungry anymore..

  6. #6
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    Then again, that'll probably just make you hungrier...
    I know you\'re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you\'re afraid. You\'re afraid of us. You\'re afraid of change. I don\'t know the future. I didn\'t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it\'s going to begin. I\'m going to hang up this phone, and then I\'m going to show these people what you don\'t want them to see. I\'m going to show them a world without you, a world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.

  7. #7
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    Or, insane....

    Imagine yourself trying to fight phood people

    Or, you may think it's your fort......

    Or, you may just end up eating it.....

    Or, ......

  8. #8
    Yikes. I will never look at my dinner the same way again.

    Maybe somebody has something concerning leftovers...

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