In my line of work I often here the complaint that wine and food are trivial concerns, everyday pleasures that pale in importance to the business of business or politics, and lacking the depth of meaning that can be uncovered by the study of more serious topics.
My response to this objection is to point out that food and wine have the capacity to bring people together, create communities, anchor identities, and provoke otherwise intelligent and quite sane people to give up everything in pursuit of flavor. Unlike simple pleasures such as basking in the sun, wine and food encourage conversation, investigation, and heated arguments about what is worthy or authentic. Because the flavors of wine and food tell stories about geography, climate, history and culture they reveal truths about ourselves and our world. And as nature continues to recede in the face of burgeoning human activity it is through food and wine that we reconnect to nature and traverse the porous boundary between nature and culture.
But more importantly, the essential activity in leading a meaningful life is to make each moment count—moments that are largely filled with the mundane, ordinary routines of day-to-day existence. There is much satisfaction to be gained by transforming everyday matters like eating and drinking into something special and alluring. Attending to the quality of food and beverages is the most accessible way of making the ordinary extraordinary. Thus food and wine are central to leading a good life.
And that is no trivial matter.