Because I only have two columns left with The Badger Herald,
I recently got a feeling of nostalgia and looked at some of my earlier work.

I expected to feel a sense of achievement and earned
authority when I looked at those old columns of validating newsprint sitting
below my photo. However, as I began to read the columns, the ink wore off on my
fingers, and I suddenly realized the impermanence of everything I had ever
written. Not only have my words ended up in recycling bins and garbage cans all
over campus, but most of them have probably not lingered in the hearts and
minds of my readers either.

Therefore, for my penultimate column, instead of getting up
on my soapbox (or milk crate, if you will) and spouting informative but
uninspiring sentences, I have chosen to share some timeless culinary quotations
with you, reader dearest. Bon app?tit!

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“Tell me what you eat, [and] I will tell you what you
are.”

— Author Jean
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, “The Physiology of Taste”

This is possibly the most quoted sentence on food ever
published, and though it was written in the 19th century, it may be more
appropriate today than it was in its original context. With co-ops and
community-supported agriculture organizations competing with major grocery
stores and local or organic restaurants competing with big chains, modern
consumers have more choices than the people of Brillat-Savarin’s time. Where
people decide to purchase and eat their food has become a profound way to
express individual identity.

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“Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti.”

— Sophia Loren,
actress

In an age when magazines, movies and television tell girls
they have to be unhealthily skinny to be attractive, it is refreshing to
reflect on these words from Loren. They are a reminder that gaining sex symbol
status and eating complex carbohydrates are not incompatible.

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“My doctor tells me I should stop having intimate
dinners for four. Unless there are three other people.”

— Orson Welles, film
director, producer, screenwriter and actor

At its best, humor is both heart-wrenching and silly. In
this quotation, Welles, who essentially ate himself to death at age 70, uses
food to an ostensibly ridiculous but actually dark and ironic end. By
simultaneously trivializing and highlighting his loneliness and addiction,
Welles uses food to capture multiple facets of his complex personality in this
compact quotation.

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“A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,

A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread — and Thou

Beside me singing in the Wilderness —

Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!”

— Poet Omar Khayyam,
“Rubaiyat,” Verse 12

Khayyam’s classic quotation is a gentle reminder that eating
simple food in good company is one of life’s great pleasures. It is really too
bad that he died in the 12th century, because he probably would have been a
cheap date.

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“Hunger is the best sauce.”

— Author Miguel de
Cervantes, “Don Quixote”

Although instant gratification has become the culinary norm
in our current culture, this sentence remains true today. As is the case with
most of life’s joys, food becomes better with anticipation, and many of us
would do well to delay eating and apply some of the world’s “best
sauce” instead of snacking compulsively.

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“As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the
sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away,
leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their
liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I
lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.”

— Author Ernest
Hemingway, “A Moveable Feast”

This is the most beautiful sentence that has ever been
written about food. Any further commentary I might make on it would only
cheapen it and distract from its compact brilliance.

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I hope you enjoyed feasting on these words. Stay tuned next
week for our last meal together.

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Jason Engelhart is a
senior majoring in economics and history. He didn’t write most of this column,
but if you’d like to complain about the parts he did write, e-mail him at [email protected]