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simple mealIt looks like we will be hunkered down for the long haul, “sheltering in place”, minimizing social get togethers while the news gets more grim by the hour.

We all have different coping strategies—for me, as always, it’s food and wine.

Of all the pleasures we pursue, food is the one that is constant in its satisfaction since we must eat several times during a day. These satisfactions are temporary—we get hungry soon after being satiated. But that impermanence is a good thing, since the pangs of hunger are a reason to once again seek pleasure. There are very few other activities in life in which the imperative to seek satisfaction and thus to experience pleasure is so constant. (Sex may be in second place—but not three times a day!)

Thus, food is a unique and singularly anchoring sort of pleasure. Because the attractions of food are so persistent they shape our lives in a variety of ways and have implications for all aspects of life, especially social life. Eating is a center around which our social lives revolve, and feeding ourselves and others well is an essential part of socializing well. The pangs of hunger are not only a reason to seek pleasure; they are a reason to seek friendship.

That need not change even though our communal lives are shrinking.  Feeding the people we share a life with becomes all the more meaningful.

And if you’re dining alone, that too becomes an act or extraordinary self-care.

The pleasure of food (and wine) is not an afterthought—a bonus over and above the nutrition that food supplies. It is both a symbol of love and friendship and the substance of them as well—including self love.

The practice of cooking, eating, and drinking well is an excellence that reverberates throughout the rest of life, an anchor we need so desperately in this desperate days.