Tuesday, January 08, 2008

`I Mind My Belly Very Studiously'

Finicky eaters and those who claim they forget to eat are never to be trusted. Absent from their bodies, they are a danger to themselves and others. They scorn pleasure, health, common sense and the call of their animal natures. They are vain, niggling and hard. Such fastidiousness at the table amounts to a minor obsession in the thought of Samuel Johnson. Boswell reports him saying:

“Some people have a foolish way of not minding, or pretending not to mind, what they eat. For my part, I mind my belly very studiously, and very carefully; for I look upon it, that he who does not mind his belly, will hardly mind anything else.”

And his friend Hester Lynch Piozzi, in her Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson, records a similar thought:

“A man seldom thinks with more earnestness of any thing than he does of his dinner; and if he cannot get that well dressed, he should be suspected of inaccuracy in other things.”

This weekend I watched The Godfather again, for perhaps the 20th time since my father and I saw it at the Yorktown Theater, in Cleveland, in March 1972. Food, its preparation and consumption, runs like a leitmotif through the movie, and Coppola/Puzo give the ultimate word on the subject to reliable, ample-bellied Clemenza:

“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”


Anonymous said...

"Try the veal--it's the best in the city."

Anonymous said...

"he who does not mind his belly, will hardly mind anything else."

Pretty much sums up our junk food culture.

The Sanity Inspector said...

That bit that TT quoted is reminiscent of,

"Vegetarians have wicked, shifty eyes, and laugh in a cold and calculating manner. They pinch little children, steal stamps, drink water, favor beards ... wheeze, squeak, drawl and maunder."
~J.B. Morton (Beachcomber), "By the Way"