Gluttony, Greed and Gourmandizing. Goodness!

Mark Kurlansky has put together a wonderful book of food wisdom, collected from writers from around the world and throughout history.   “Choice Cuts”, published in 2002, is his edited collection of works about food and definitely worth reading.

"Choice Cuts", edited by Mark Kurlansky

“Choice Cuts”, edited by Mark Kurlansky

One of the writers was Simeon Ben Sira, a 2nd century (BCE) Hebrew scholar and philosopher. He wrote poems about daily life, conduct and historical events. Kurlansky has included Sira’s “Ben Sira Against Gluttony” in “Choice Cuts” and notes “…Simeon Ben Sira was born already speaking and with his teeth fully formed”. No small feat, that!

Here is the wisdom of Simeon Ben Sira:

"Uncouth lot, this group!" (Photo Credit: www.shutterstock.com)

“Uncouth lot, this group!” (Photo Credit: http://www.shutterstock.    com)

This gentleman is showing good manners and restraint at the buffet (Photo Credit: www.gormogons.com)

This gentleman is showing good manners and restraint at the buffet (Photo Credit: http://www.gormogons.       com)

If you are sitting at a grand table, do not lick your lips and exclaim, “What a spread!

"Wow...what a spread!" (Photo Credit: www.clclt.com)

“Wow…what a spread!” (Photo Credit: http://www.clclt.com)

“Remember, it is a vice to have a greedy eye”

Just enough to whet the appetite... (Photo Credit: www.jonbarron.org)

Just enough to whet the appetite… (Photo Credit: http://www.jonbarron.org)

 

(Photo Credit: www.cartoonstock.com)

(Photo Credit: http://www.cartoonstock. com)

"Who me? Greedy?" (Photo Credit: www.drmindypelz.wordpress.com)

“Who me? Greedy?” (Photo Credit: http://www.drmindypelz. wordpress.com)

 

"This is just my appetizer. I'm going back for the entrée next" (Photo Credit: www.booksreview.top)

“This is just my appetizer. I’m going back for the entrée next” (Photo Credit: http://www.booksreview.      top)

Ben Sira would shudder to see this! (Photo Credit: www.dreamstime.com)

Ben Sira would shudder to see this! (Photo Credit: http://www.dreamstime.   com)

“Do not reach for everything you see, or jostle your fellow-guest at the dish: judge his feeling by your own and always behave considerately”. 

"Here are the rules: no jostling, reaching or cramming food into your mouth. No reaching, no pushing, no shoving and please exhibit a bit of decorum" (Photo Credit: www.etiquette.about.com)

“Here are the rules: no jostling, reaching or cramming food into your mouth. No hitting, no pushing, no shoving and please exhibit a bit of decorum, while at the buffet” (Photo Credit: http://www.etiquette. about.com)

"Do not reach for everything you see..." (Photo Credit: www.dreamstime.com)

“Do not reach for everything you see…” (Photo Credit: http://www.dreamstime.   com)

“Eat what is set before you like a gentleman: do not munch and make yourself objectionable”  

Children being trained in proper etiquette at the buffet (Photo Credit: www.gr8traveltips.com)

Children being trained in proper etiquette at the buffet (Photo Credit: http://www.gr8traveltips.    com)

This is unacceptable bahaviour, according to Ben Sira. (Photo Credit: www.pixcove.com)

This is unacceptable bahaviour, according to Ben Sira. (Photo Credit: http://www.pixcove.com)

"Well, Harold. Nice to see that you're not munching and making yourself objectionable" (Photo Credit: www.artofmanliness.com)

“Well, Harold. Nice to see that you’re not munching and making yourself objectionable” (Photo Credit: http://www.artofmanliness.  com)

 

This is truly "pigging" out and is unacceptable behaviour (Photo Credit: www.cutelypoinsoned.com)

This is truly “pigging” out and is unacceptable behaviour (Photo Credit: http://www.cutelypoinsoned. com)

“Be the first to stop for good manners’ sake and to not be insatiable, or you will give offense”

 

This is objectionable, no doubt (Photo Credit: www.pinterest.com)

This is objectionable, no doubt (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com)

If you are dining in a large company, do not reach out your hand before others”

 

It is rude to grab at food ahead of other grabbers (Photo Credit: www.shutterstock.com)

It is rude to grab at food ahead of other grabbers (Photo Credit: http://www.shutter stock.com)

“A man of good upbringing is content with little, and he is not short of breath when he goes to bed” 

 

"I seem to be a tad short of breath. Must be that last turkey I ate" (Photo Credit: www.clemson.edu)

“I seem to be a tad short of breath. Must be that last turkey I ate” (Photo Credit: http://www.clemson. edu)

“The moderate eater enjoys healthy sleep: he rises early, feeling refreshed” 

"The moderate eater enjoys healthy sleep..." (Photo Credit: www.suesnutritionbuzz.com)

“The moderate eater enjoys healthy sleep…” (Photo Credit: http://www.suesnutrition      buzz .com)

“But sleeplessness, indigestion, and colic are the lot of the glutton”

 

"Uh oh. I should have listened to Ben Sira!" (Photo Credit: www.123rf.com)

“Uh oh. I should have listened to Ben Sira!” (Photo Credit: http://www.123rf.com)

 

 

"I don't know why we spend so much time in presentation. The gluttons will just descend and stuff their faces" (Photo Credit: www.winnepegfreepress.com)

“I don’t know why we spend so much time in presentation. The gluttons will just descend and stuff their faces” (Photo Credit: http://www.winnepeg               free press.com)

"Hey...back off buster. I'm not a glutton. This is for my over-wintering pantry" (Photo Credit: www.dailymail.co.uk)

“Hey…back off buster. I’m not a glutton. This is for my over-wintering pantry” (Photo Credit: http://www.dailymail.          co.uk)

 

“If you cannot avoid overeating at a feast, leave the table and find relief by vomiting” 

Nothing like vomiting to make room for more! (Photo Credit: www.en.wikipedia.org)

Nothing like vomiting to make room for more! (Photo Credit: http://www.en.wikipedia.org)

 


My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

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About vintagecookbookery

Cookbook lover and collector with a burgeoning collection of cookbooks. Reading and researching food trends, history of cooking techniques and technological advances in cooking, what we eat and why and cookbooks as reflectors of cultures is a fascination for me. As of November 7th, 2013, I hold the current Guinness World Record title for the largest collection of cookbooks: 2,970 at the official count on July 14th, 2013 (applaud now, thank you very much!) The current (unofficial) number is now 6,124. What next? More shelves!
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