When we eat, we always do a lot of things on the side (and I don’t mean eating more stuff): reading a newspaper, texting, watching “How I Met Your Mother”, chatting with a friend, playing Temple Run on our iPhones. We never – or rarely – just eat, chew, and swallow. We are always eating and doing something else. Not that that’s a bad thing because, as we all know, if you have mastered the art of multitasking, you are most definitely going to succeed in life (it’s up to you to find out how much of this is a lie). So, why not start with something as easy as pairing eating with texting (because your boss just won’t stop asking you questions), right?
We always say that eating (or food) is one of the greatest pleasures in life, but when we eat and do something else at the same time, the pleasure in eating is somehow diminished. Instead of channeling all our attention to that ridiculously delicious steak in our mouths, our focus is split between savoring the steak and getting that new high score in Temple Run. Instead of really savoring what we’re eating, we end up only half-tasting our food. We are merely able to taste the general flavor but unable to truly appreciate the food, no matter how many times you tell your friend or yourself that that particular asparagus is the most delicious thing you’ve ever tasted. You may say it’s delicious, but what makes it truly delicious is something you may not be able to point out. I’m not saying that you should be like one of those judges in “Top Chef” where you have to describe every aspect and every flavor in that mini slice of cake that’s served to you out loud (I’ll just probably secretly judge you if you do that). Rather, don’t you think it’ll be nice if you can really appreciate the art that is in your food once in a while, like appreciate it in a way that you’ve never done before? Trust me, you’ll discover something different, something new when you begin to truly enjoy your food – something that you will realize that you have always missed no matter how many times you’ve eaten it. And it’s quite interesting to make that discovery. It’s like finding a red gem in a pile of red stones. You should try it sometime (because that’s the whole point of this post, in case you haven’t noticed).
For once in your life, forget about multitasking while you’re eating. Forget about having to reply to that person who dare disturb you while you’re munching on your chicken sandwich. Forget about having to read the latest about the world. Forget about wanting to watch that particular episode of “The Big Bang Theory”. Forget about having to finish that book. Forget about having to talk to your friend about the latest celebrity gossip or fashion trends. Forget about merely needing to satisfy your hunger. Rather, eat for the sake of wanting to eat for pleasure. Eat for the sake of wanting to enjoy food.
It doesn’t matter how common or inexpensive your food is. It doesn’t matter if you’re not in a fancy restaurant eating foie gras. It doesn’t matter if you’ve eaten that dish a hundred times. Nobody ever said that only the likes of caviar are the types of food you ought to savor. Neither did anyone say that the only times you are allowed to truly enjoy what you’re eating are when you’re at a classy 5-star restaurant. You can take real pleasure in what you’re eating with whatever type of food, whenever, wherever – that is, if you choose to.
So, today, tomorrow, or whenever you feel like you need to take a break from the world, choose to truly enjoy food and enjoy life in the process (a part of it, that is). Choose to eat with zest. Choose to eat with a desire to appreciate each aspect of the dish. Choose to eat… and do nothing else.
Eat. Savor. Enjoy. Relax.
Don’t think about anything else. Focus on your food. Give it the attention it deserves. Connect with it – the aromas, the textures, the flavors. Take in the pleasure it so wants you to experience as you take each bite. Listen to each crunch as the crispy fried chicken skin crushes between your teeth. Feel the tanginess of the lemon burst in your mouth, the sprinkled sugar melt in your tongue. Let the barbeque sauce set your mouth ablaze and the soft texture of the mashed potato balance the tang, the spiciness of your baby back ribs.
Drown in the sea of flavors as they come together in each bite, in each spoonful that you take. Immerse your senses in the aromatic spices, in the mixture of condiments, in the scrumptious and mouth-watering dishes laid before you.
Eat… for the sake of eating for and with pleasure. Eat to enjoy.
Eat like you mean it. Eat like you truly want it.