Taste is Knowing the Tissue of Little Things

tissue of little thingsWe scour the universe for signs of intelligence, probe the brain for the roots of cognition, and build city after city packed with buildings that reach for the sky. But it is the small pleasures of life that matter most to us.

The 18th Century French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote that “taste is knowing the tissue of little things that make up the agreeableness of life.”

The “tissue of little things” refers to the everyday moments of satisfaction that make up the real substance of a life and give life its character. The subtle gestures of romance, the quiet certainties of friendship, the musical cadence of conversations, or the moments of a caretaker’s resolve mingle with the somber moods of a dreary day, the pleasant feeling when someone smiles, the hypnotic rhythm of waves crashing on the beach, or the gentle rustling of trees. These “little things” support the meaningfulness of life from moment to moment regardless of the major events that come and go.

Food and drink are the lattice that binds that tissue. Take away your favorite food or drink and the threads begin to  unravel.


Adapted from American Foodie, Chapter Two.

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