COURAGE AT TABLE / robert lynd

The Daily News – 3 September 1926

COURAGE AT TABLE

    Nearly every friend I have is notorious for eating too little. One man is afraid of soup. Another leaves the salmon untasted. A third regards potatoes as a poison. A fourth has been warned against tomatoes. Others dare not eat sweet things for fear of growing fat, as though it were not a fine thing to be fat. I do not know of a single food or drink of which somebody or other is not frightened.

    Even bread, which used to be called the staff of life, is avoided by many as though it were steeped in rat poison, and I know a man who imputes all the worst epidemics that have devastated the human race to the disastrous habit of drinking water.

    This seems to me to be a very undesirable state of affairs. Courage at the table is necessary, if not as noble, a virtue as courage in battle.

    The present, I should think, is the first age in the history of the world in which men have to be incited to eat by large-lettered slogans in the shops and on the hoardings. Everywhere we go we see signs of this propaganda to an appetite-less world— ‘Eat more fruit,’ ‘Eat more fish,’ and, in ham and beef shops, ‘Eat still more ham.’

    If we were all eating enough already, it is obvious that the shopkeepers would not be under the necessity of issuing these hysterical appeals to us.

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