The feast: more than a meal, it’s flesh at its most opulent surrounded by a nimbus of starches and sweets, by anticipation and ceremony, by cacophony and prayer. If fast is a holding firm, feast is a letting go — but no less a ritual for that. Certain foods must be served in a set order. Belts must be loosened along with inhibitions. First the table must groan under the weight of the food, then the eaters must groan as they attempt to rise. The boundary between pleasure and pain must be breached — especially on a feast of thanksgiving. You can say grace before any meal, but Thanksgiving’s mandatory excess imparts a visceral understanding of the cost of consumption: something has to die that we may live.

Walking it off
through the night & fog
the dazzle of home

8 Replies to “Postprandial”

  1. Great writing. Sumptuous stuff for those of us who are almost filled but not quite topped off. I can never get enough of the people I love, even though I know I’m clinging. Food is a part of it, but only a part, right?

    1. Great point. Yes. Food is an expression of love, especially on the holidays, and I think it’s in the nature of love that we can never get enough of each other… or of the world, as in Edna St. Vincent Millay’s famous poem.

  2. As is your gift, Dave, you took the sum of Thanksgiving’s parts and turned it into something more, and — along with Christine’s excellent comment — helped me fully “get” the parallel concept of “funeral food.”

    1. You know, if I’d written this back in 2004 or 5, it would have been a 1000-page essay. Now that I no longer have that fire in my gut, these shorter, almost telegraphic posts leave more work for the reader — and prompt insightful comments like yours and Christine’s. Thanks. I also always look forward to your gourmand’s perspective on the holiday!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.