“Fooded Out.” When Is Enough Enough?

I love to eat. I love to eat good food. I love to eat to excess. But sometimes, I just get tired of the constant bombardment of food during holidays, or those weird long weekends when friend and family visits overlap, and it seems as if there is a contest to see who can put the most rich food on the table. Sometimes, I just want to sit down with a simple meal, a nice glass of wine, and relax and chat. Why does everything have to be a food brawl? Oh, don’t answer that, because I really enjoy those brawls. But in the rush to overload the table, sometimes we lose sight of the pleasures of good food, good drink and good company.

Today was a good example. But for some reason, a few of us gravitated away from the table and toward a comfortable set of sofa and chairs and sat for an hour or so, speaking of absolutely nothing important, eating nothing and nursing a few glasses of good wine. And it was lovely.

Maybe that is the advantage of a more formal dinner party? The food and drink is brought out at a pace designed to maximize pleasure; gustatory, alcoholic and intellectual, so one’s liver isn’t overwhelmed. I think I will test this hypothesis. Of course I have the perfect dish around which to build this liver-saving meal — Cassoulet!

4 Replies to ““Fooded Out.” When Is Enough Enough?”

  1. Couldn’t agree more. On Day 4 of the Thanksgiving weekend imbroglio I couldn’t take it any more and retreated from the fattening pen to the conversation pit in the living room with a good friend and a good glass of wine. I was subsequently chastised (by my “life partner”)because I didn’t remain at the dining room table for 5 straight hours and entertain the nonstop stream of visitors. Perhaps I was rude, but I was actually sick of eating.

  2. I used as my excuse the fact that the last visitors were two hours late. At that point my responsibility to be a polite guest is null and void, or moot. The purpose of these events is pleasure, not obligation.

  3. The responsibility to be a polite guest is never, I repeat, never null and void. It surprises me that such a creative chef does not derive pleasure from dignified behavior. As for Drexel, a meal at French Laundry, the finest restaurant in the United States, often extends past five hours.

  4. Well, at the risk of irritating one of my readers, I must disagree. At the event which I mentioned in my comment, everything was lovely, but at some point the imperative to sit at the table becomes less pressing, especially when some guests were unconscionably late. Is it incumbent upon me to sit at the table and watch them eat? I think not. As for The French Laundry? A meal at such a restaurant is not comparable to an informal holiday gathering. I am not sure what your comparison proves, other than your lack of rhetorical skill.There is a balance that all hosts hope for. But the comfort of each guest is factored into the equation.

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