Monday, December 10, 2007

Thoreau and food

I've been re-reading that most un-European of Americans lately, namely, Henry David Thoreau.

In picking through Walden (inset, Walden Pond), I've particularly noticed the many considerations he has on food and drink. We know of course that he advocated simplicity. But I think that he was particularly prescient in stating boldly that our lifestyle in terms of these very things may be our downfall: "Such apparently slight causes destroyed Greece and Rome, and will destroy England and America."

Now he makes this remark in the context of a rather drastic view of the matter, discouraging the consumption of coffee, tea, and (gasp!) wine. But he also generously and intelligently stated earlier in the book that he does not wish to impose his life choices on anyone. I would strike at the Mediterranean goal of a happy medium. To include wine. Of course. But keeping in mind that if you have to err between the extremes of Henry David in 1854 and the average American in 2007, Henry David is the way to go.