Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Through Eve's Mouth
Lately I have been buried in readings in philosophy, a simple favor I’m doing for a friend- a foreign priest- who has a hard time understanding English. Read, translate, explain. Read, translate, explain. Although a little out- of- grasp of my primitive mind, I somehow managed to do a satisfactory job and in the end appreciate the matter myself. Besides, the world seems to present to hunters something to discover all the time. Oh well. So taking a short break from my little adventures and cooking, here I go staring at a beautiful artwork (it’s 6:22 am and U2’s “All I Want Is You” is playing in the background). This painting of Carlos Verger, a Spanish artist, is the most sensuous nude I have ever seen and will probably see in my life. The moment I laid eyes on it I was captivated at how the artist could have imagined the beautiful Eve, wife of Adam.
How this painting relates to a food blog is summarized in this statement: Condemnation and salvation take place in the mouth. (Religious scholars, please don’t invite a debate for this- religious arguments isn’t my cup of tea)
But first of all, I would like to express a thoughtful sympathy to poor Eve. Women curse her at the pains of childbirth, men blame Eve for tempting Adam and therefore the suffering of mankind. “It’s all Eve’s fault!”
However, seeing it at a different angle, there is the observable pattern in the events of the Bible stories. First, there it was, the cunning serpent and his strategy. I ask sometimes, why the fruit of all things? Why not, say, a piece of clothing to make you invisible or, a mirror, a book – anything but food? Then placing ourselves in the place of the tricky serpent, indeed, what else can you offer to someone who already has everything? Who is in need of nothing more in a marvelous paradise where everything has been provided for, and whose job description is to basically watch over it and procreate….
Then who am I to question the mindset of God, but the two sides of the story seemed to deal with food. I will not state here the very exact terms – but why was Christ’s eternal life (supposedly designed to counteract Eve’s and Adam’s disobedience) made symbolic at a dinner table? Why not a ritual dance or, a bath perhaps?
Hard core scholars may analyze all sorts of Eve’s or Christ’s stories, but what I can derive from there is: it is food, man. Who can help it? Both God and the devil know it’s one of the greatest gifts- and truest pleasures- ever given. Food is something so attached to us poor humans, something we can’t refuse, something that heals, something that changes who we are, and most of all, something we can never live without. Though with a little application of common sense (-and obedience- How could you, Eve? How could you??), we now have all privileges of food information- to know what’s good or bad- which we can use at our advantage. And pretty sure, even more common sense to convince ourselves that parties who happen to promise of extreme, unbelievable results are pure cuckoos and are best ignored. There is a Chinese proverb that says, “All our diseases pass through our mouth, and all our mistakes fly out of it”. In Eve’s case and in observing the many ailments of excess or affluence in our lives, we’ll all agree how true it is. Then contrarily, food was made positive by a great man who wisely declared that “Food is medicine”.
Ah, food glorious food!
So hats off to you all food people out there- whether you are a balut vendor, wine-maker, apple- picker, fishmonger, baker or a well- paid chef- take pride in your work! It’s always been food- whether a stolen bite hidden in a garden or an ultra-serious dinner witnessed by disciples- there is always something so great we can align ourselves in the phenomenal Christian salvation story.