Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving Fast

For Thanksgiving dessert, I used to be most fond of apple pie with a thick wedge of triple cream brie or even a ripe blue cheese.  I used to lovingly bake these pies with a buttery crust and apples I grew.  Thanksgiving is a gluttonous holiday for most Americans and for many decades past I have gorged myself to excess every season. I ritually and pathologically vow to eat moderately in the gastronomic aftermath of every Thanksgiving dinner.  This year, the time was right to contemplate the meaning of Thanksgiving by forgoing the feast altogether.  I've been appreciating more and more the curiously additive power of subtraction. I've never looked forward so much to having nothing before.

I am normally not a creature who is accustomed to even half an empty stomach since I rush to fill my belly anytime a thought of food enters my mind which is almost every other hour.  I had earlier in the summer tried fasting for health and philosophic reasons without much success.  Food thoughts are hypnotically powerful.

Instead of a full day of fasting which would result in an unbearable grumpiness, I went for 16 hours skipping the main dinner.  Being hungry by choice is a luxury I can claim for today.  A shocking number of humans go hungry in a world where an even more shocking number of humans die as a result of being continually overfed. There rarely is a just balance in this world and I can only mind myself.   


  1. Hello, Hster,

    What better time for a fast? This week with family, when the tendency is to fill the mouth lest some unkind phrase escape, I find myself slowing down in the feeding department. Not, initially, out of any noble impulse, but more because I start to feel sick. I would have preferred a bowl of congee with pickled radish to the obligatory, dripping-matted hash of bird and bread. Not to sound too un-Thankful.

    You raise a good point. Do we enter this "holiday season" with a real sense of gladness that we have food to eat or do we blindly shovel it in? I would like to approach food with some sense of appreciation and, to me, that necessitates not being gorged.


    1. Dear Israel,

      Sometimes it feels wonderful to stuff one's face mindlessly. I'm always looking for a food that I can shovel in without remorse and papaya salad is one of the few things I've found.

      I am always grateful that most of us have the choice not to eat when we feel like it but for pathological reasons, relish reading about hungry lean times- Laura Ingalls Wilder's Long Winter is one of my favorites along with Shackleton's Endurance.


  2. Well done - and inspiring.