Today I was at my wonderful job working away while Connor (age 9…or 3, depending on his mood) was whining away about something. I asked him if I could have some cheese and crackers with that w(h)ine-as my mother often asked me when I was a whining child. (I whined a lot when I was younger.)
And then Connor walked over to me carrying a bag of cheez-Ritz cracker sandwiches and handed them to me. “Here you go,” he said. “Some cheese and crackers to go with your wine.”
It was great. Really great.
This seems to be a cliche of our modern age. We seem to spend an inordinate amount of time discussing what we eat and how much we eat and when we eat and where we eat and why we eat…et cetera, et cetera…ad infinitum.
Last night, I heard a talk about C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters, in which the speaker mentioned how Lewis discusses the fact that the “delicacy of eating” can be as much of a sin as overeating. The “delicacy of eating” can be defined as “determination to get what you want no matter what the cost to others.”
On reflection, I realized that this is rather prevalent in our modern culture. In fact, I just read a blog post about a woman who quite innocently posted a recipe that called for bacon and cream/milk on her blog. And then, she found herself being judged by a blog reader-a person who does not even know her personally-for using/allowing her family to consume “high-fat foods.” The blogger who had posted the recipe realized that in our society, we have (for some unknown reason) given ourselves license to judge other people for what they eat and all of the other things that I mentioned at the beginning of my post. And I think that in some way, this is the “delicacy of eating” that Lewis spoke of in The Screwtape Letters. But we have combined this delicacy of eating with judging others who do not prescribe to our own personal delicacies.
I can relate to this because I am lactose-intolerant. I cannot, no make that should not eat dairy. I miss dairy but I cannot eat it. I get teased about this a lot by various friends, including a friend who (jokingly) told me once that “cheese is the proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. And God just doesn’t love you as much as he loves me.” Brian (the friend quoted) should not be accused of delicacy of eating or of judging the way I eat. But I do find that this “impairment,” as it were, is something that many people struggle to understand. They view this as a choice I’ve made…when it’s something into which I was forced by my intestines. However, I respect other people who do eat dairy. It’s their choice…and their bodies can handle it-unlike mine.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: what food you eat is a choice. Don’t judge what other people eat; you may not know their reasons. It’s just food. Gluttony or “delicacy of eating” can be moral issues. But choosing to eat bacon once in a while is not a sin. It is not a moral issue and it will not save or damn our immortal souls. So, unless it’s actually physically unhealthful for you to do so, eat the bacon. But save some for me.