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What Lewis would have thought of the Food Network

Comprising most of Lewis' writings.

What Lewis would have thought of the Food Network

Postby paminala » 16 Feb 2010, 17:47

In reading Mere Christianity there was a passage that caught my attention particulary. At first I took it as humorous but reading it through a second time I thought that even if it was it wasn't as I had first taken it.
The passage in question is in the part of the book (I don't have my book on hand so I can't give you the chapter, maybe someone will help me out) where he is addressing the need for chastity and the oversexed nature of many in our society. In order to counter certain arguments about how this came about (and, from some points of view is a natural rather than bad thing) he makes what I'm sure he considered an absurd comparison. He stages a "peep show" where people gather to look at food that they will not be permitted to eat in the same way that men gather to look at girls (in the requisite state of undress) although they will not be satisfied afterwards. His point seemed to be that although both eating and sex are indulgences human beings are likely to over do, no one would ever just watch food or look at pictures of it in books.

This idea stuck with me, kind of in the back of my mind, and came back to me later while I was watching a couple of cooking shows on TV and flipping through an issue of Gourmet magazine.

Was his a bad analogy or have we elevated food to a higher form of vice in our new century?
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Re: What Lewis would have thought of the Food Network

Postby Michael » 20 Feb 2010, 03:12

Hmmmm. Good question. I will have to ponder that. I like cooking shows and watch this channel quite a lot.
"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell."
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Re: What Lewis would have thought of the Food Network

Postby wondawomen » 20 Feb 2010, 14:51

I think CSL was trying to explain the everything created was good but man has taken it a little too far in his sinful nature. Food is good, glutany or worshiping food is bad, etc. How to tell if we have taken the love of food and cooking too far is a hard one. The cooking channel has so many wonderful programs that are educational. Now if they film someone laying on a couch being overfed until they throw up, that would be bad. ( :
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Re: What Lewis would have thought of the Food Network

Postby Karen » 21 Feb 2010, 16:31

Indeed. Have you ever heard the phrase 'food porn' ?
I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library. -- Jorge Luis Borges
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Re: What Lewis would have thought of the Food Network

Postby wondawomen » 21 Feb 2010, 18:13

I was taught in college that the old masters paintings of food and foul were really bragging by the ones comissioning the painting that they had so much food wealth. Same idea, I guess.
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Re: What Lewis would have thought of the Food Network

Postby Matthew Whaley » 25 Feb 2010, 06:24

I don't think Lewis would have any problem with Alton Brown's "Good Eats": I think he would rather like it.
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Re: What Lewis would have thought of the Food Network

Postby Bluegoat » 03 Mar 2010, 17:03

I don't think lewis was just saying food and sex were the same in that passage - he was trying to argue that our sexual lives were even more abnormally inflamed than other natural desires, at least in general.

I do think he might be a bit surprised by the "food porn" that has become so common. Though in Screwtape he does talk about becoming a connoisseur of food as a kind of gluttony, one particularly attractive to men.

However, I think that this attitude to food, and home decorating, etc, is really driven by marketing. An attempt to make money by artificially inflaming the appetites. This also happens with sex, which is why our consumer culture is so very obsessed, but there is a difference. With sex, it seems to naturally want to spread itself everywhere and so people take advantage of it. Other bodily appetites don't seem to become quite so all consuming for so many without help.
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Re: What Lewis would have thought of the Food Network

Postby paminala » 03 Mar 2010, 17:27

That is kind of the direction I was thinking of. He seems to point to desires and appetites that have been over indulged becoming skewed. That excessive social acceptances of sexual behavior in comparison to more repressive attitudes of the past leads to people doing things that are related to but are not actually sex. What had occurred to me was that in our society we have glamorized and over indulged our appetite for food, partly because of its abundance, and it has led to similar outcomes. People are partaking of all sorts of things around food that aren't actually eating for sustenance in the same way that they indulge in different kinds of sexual acts that aren’t related to marriage or procreation.
All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.
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Re: What Lewis would have thought of the Food Network

Postby Nerd42 » 10 Mar 2010, 04:21

Oh come on now. That passage was not a critique of cooking! Lewis described cooking positively somewhere in the Narnia books if I recall correctly. I think from Lewis's perspective, being a great chef is just one more way someone could contribute to the great dance - just another of those personal longings each person was designed with. As long as you love cooking for the right reasons, you could glorify God with it. I'm sure he would have had no problems with a network devoted to teaching people how to cook more than any other network. If Lewis was going to have a problem with a network, I very much doubt it would have been the Food Network!!

The Food Network isn't about anticipating the great reveal of the food gradually - it's about learning how to cook! A useful skill!

It's all in Plato...what DO they teach them in school these days?
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Re: What Lewis would have thought of the Food Network

Postby paminala » 10 Mar 2010, 21:14

When I titled this thread I mentioned the Food Network partly because I thought it made a good metaphor for the idea I wanted to discuss, partly because it seemed like a good hook (people would want to read it) and partly because it seemed kind of pithy. It was never intended to be taken so literally.
I don't think the issue was ever cooking per se, but rather the point at which a healthy indulgence becomes unhealthy and whether it is happening on a wide scale in society.
Any passion can be a good thing or a bad thing. A love of wine is good unless it goes to far then it just makes you an alcoholic. An appreciation for the news might make you well informed and interesting or paranoid and homebound. It is a question of degree.
I just wanted to know what other people thought.
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Re: What Lewis would have thought of the Food Network

Postby Nerd42 » 10 Mar 2010, 21:49

paminala wrote:When I titled this thread I mentioned the Food Network partly because I thought it made a good metaphor for the idea I wanted to discuss, partly because it seemed like a good hook (people would want to read it) and partly because it seemed kind of pithy. It was never intended to be taken so literally.
I don't think the issue was ever cooking per se, but rather the point at which a healthy indulgence becomes unhealthy and whether it is happening on a wide scale in society.
Any passion can be a good thing or a bad thing. A love of wine is good unless it goes to far then it just makes you an alcoholic. An appreciation for the news might make you well informed and interesting or paranoid and homebound. It is a question of degree.
I just wanted to know what other people thought.
Yeah :) Just seems odd that you picked on the Food Network. There is alot of worse stuff people could be watching!
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Re: What Lewis would have thought of the Food Network

Postby paminala » 10 Mar 2010, 22:33

It's iconic so I thought it would get people's attention. It looks like I was right!
(If I didn't despise smilies I might use one right about now)
All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.
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Re: What Lewis would have thought of the Food Network

Postby sunbear » 23 Sep 2010, 14:06

Karen wrote:Indeed. Have you ever heard the phrase 'food porn' ?


HA! I thought the same the instant I saw this post. While certainly not appropriate for children, or maybe adults for that matter, the Anthony Bourdain Season 5 episode about food porn came to mind. I won't link here lest anyone be offended, but you can google it if you want. Funny to a foodie with a sense of humor, maybe not as much to someone watching with children or a tighter rain on questionable humor.
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