Lessons From Dairy Treats

Two things about me, one an undisputable, measurable fact, and the other a common perception. I am a fast eater, faster than most. And I am generally held to be a food snob (what my wife likes to call a "foodie").

I admit to both. So you, my long-time friend, ask yourself the question you've often asked yourself. And you, my bosom buddy, ask yourself the question you've already had the effrontery to ask me. The question is "how can you look yourself in the eye knowing that you live your eat by two such opposed modes of feeding?"

I have always given the same answer, but after tonight I have a term to neatly sum up my answer in one phrase.

I say that I live by the Way of the Popsicle.

Boys and girls, this evening the ice cream truck drove down our street. I bought Renata a fine "dairy treat" shaped like Dora's head, with little gumball eyeballs. We sat on the porch together while she ate. When she started on the popsicle, she started picking at the eyeballs. I asked her if I could have one of them.

"But dad, I want them for myself."

I told her that it was her choice, although she should share. And I waited, for I knew that soon she would learn the Way of the Popsicle (although I knew not what to call it then).

Sure enough, "Ooh, it's melting. I'd better eat it quick. You want a bite, daddy?" Sure, daughter, sure.

And so, at the most elemental level that the Way offers, with the fundamental teaching tools, Renata begins to learn what the Way of the Popsicle means: enjoy the good things in life, but don't hold on to them for too long, because they'll soon disappear; share these good things, because your enjoyment of their fleeting pleasure with another will increase the pleasure.

And that's what I try to do when I eat and drink (and in other pleasures enjoyed with sundry brothers and sisters). People think I'm a "foodie" or a "snob" (another term my wife favors, although she uses it kindly), but I'm not. I'm a food evangelizer. I want you to know my pleasures. And I want something in return. I want to know your pleasures. Remember that next time I reach across the table and take something from your plate: I desire simply to be intimate with thee. I want to share the communion cup with you, and I want to taste your beer.