Dietitians are the cowled monks of today's religion, one that celebrates culinary self-restraint the way older ones celebrated morality. It's an oddly self-indulgent church that substitutes "health" for "piety," but it's still the same story: bliss can only be achieved through purity. While their science is respectable, it is too often served in an entirely humorless and otherwise unappetizing fashion. I’m not jealous that prohibitionists get some sort of joy from their peculiar addiction to non-addiction -- nor do I have any desire to join in their incomprehensible obsession.
It's difficult to understand the joy that some people seem to take in the gastronomic equivalent of self-flagellation, the mortification of one’s own flesh via non-consumption of tasty viands. Their smug self-satisfied proselytizing robs the very air of any pleasures it might hold for an appreciative nose. The promise of carnal bliss conjured by the aroma of a perfectly-grilled steak -- a vast glistening slab of proteinaceous pulchritude, encircled by crisply browned fat -- are banished, forthwith, as the temptations of a baser instinct, a crude and unenlightened coarseness that is as disgusting as it is unforgivable.
But there are even more vexing questions.
Why are these true believers always so deadly boring to be around? Nothing about them suggests the presence of wit or any other form of human comaraderie. Is brilliance and bonhomie dependent on sugar, saturated fat, and ethyl alcohol in the diet?
Why does encouraging self-deprivation in others translate to self-righteous satisfaction for them?
In short, how does the absence of pleasure pleasure them?
We may never learn the answers, but one thing is certain: A lion-sized portion of well-roasted beast , followed by a thick wedge (or two) of fat- and calorie-laden cake -- not to mention a flagon (or three) of ale -- usually makes the sermonizing much easier to swallow.