“The voice of the Devil.”
Feeding the body. Feeding the senses.
From the physiological point of view food is important for survival and maintaining body functions. We hardly eat food considering such perspective. Choosing food, restaurants or other eating environments, we do it thinking about sensorial experience, taste, appetite, feelings, perceptions, company, food memories, comfort…
Nutrition might come to our minds, but not usually as a primary enthusiasm. The question we will try to answer is about the possibility of combining the body’s needs for energy and other nutritious elements with the need to also feed our soul and senses with feelings of satisfaction and delight.
Blake was known as critic of science. This conception about Blake was wrong and what he truly though was that art and science were profoundly related and should work together. And this relates closely to food as a form of feeding our selves, considering many perspectives on one hand and nutrition as a science that wants us to fulfill the body requirements.
As the true method of knowledge is experiment, the true faculty of knowing must be the faculty which experiences.
A taste of Blake will be a Gastronomic experience. There is much to learn from it.
You can check the video and look forward to hear the explanation during the presentation.
Energy is the only life, and is from the Body… energy is eternal delight.
Energy comes from the body. The fact is that energy is stored in food. Food provides us with the energy we need for daily tasks. We transfer the energy contained in food to the body and then send it back out while we expend it. If we don’t, the energy that we got from food can be stored in our body and, as we all know, we get fat. So energy comes indeed from the body and we can transform this energy in many forms of delightful things such as poetry, painting, work, technology… and other kinds of activities… or we could see this delight as a marvelous dessert we can eat.
That Energy, call’d Evil, is alone from the Body, & that Reason, call’d Good, is alone from the Soul.
From the scientific point of view, we look at food as source of nutrients. When doing this we study and analyze different people and, considering their age, gender, daily activity and other aspects, we can be very precise establishing that one could compel 2500 calories a day, within which requiring 300 g of carbohydrates, 12 g of iron, 90 g of lipids and 38 g of fiber for example.
These are very precise numbers. So what should we do? Carry a calculator and a food analyzer everywhere we go and used it every time we eat? I am asking this ironically of course, but there are apps that do these things and there are people who strictly register everything. Does this comply with the feeding our senses? Or is it just feeding our body? This relates to that confined view of science that Blake so fiercely criticized. We cannot eat just to feed our body’s requirements.
Now, let’s go back to our dessert? Does it please us? And if so, how much energy does it contain?
Is it enough? Or too much?
Well, if it would have been the dessert after a balanced meal in a regular day, it could be just enough. Enough not to overcome your body’s needs. Enough to fulfill your soul’s need for pleasure and delight.
In another context … it can be too much …
But the question can be asked again.
Is it a serious offense to one’s health? Again. It depends. Do we do this every day ? Are we overeating and fulfilling ourselves with sweets and fatty food all the time ?
If the answer is yes, then I can say, you might be going to the wrong path… for a person like me, with good eating and exercise habits it’s just a little drop in the ocean that won’t do any harm.
Blake’s criticism to science was about drifting apart from a too established mechanistic view of reality, into a more human fulfilled reality. So in food, as in everything else, we need to be able to balance.
But to be able to balance we must have knowledge. Considering food and nutrition that is not an easy task, mostly because there is too much misinformation, which is why we must use good sources of information.
In “a taste of Blake”, food, will be as a source of fun and pleasure, clearly to feed the senses. A balance made not by the account of nutrients and calories, but rather by all we will learn about William Blake and how we manage to adapted his various forms of art to other forms of art.
Estoril Higher Institute for Tourism and Hotel Studies
Escola Superior de Hotelaria e Turismo do Estoril