The Great Guacamole Missile Crisis: Part I
“There is never a delight in owning anything unshared.”
This quotation may only make sense because our beloved Roman lived 1500 years before the invention of guacamole. Sharing is a concept that is much beloved by cultures and different religious philosophies across the globe; Quotations from the Bible, to the Talmud, to Buddhism, Hinduism, Humanism, Communism, the Qur’an and Oprah all embrace, to some extent, the virtue of sharing with others. However, rather than highlight the virtues of sharing resources, political power, God’s blessings and other less interesting concepts (Well…fine, God’s Blessings are important, it’s just not what this blog is about…I am anticipating a lightning strike shortly), I’m going to discuss the sharing of food.
What do Thanksgivings, elementary school lunch tables, UN refugee sites and prison cell blocks all have in common? Sharing of food! Sharing food can be quite remarkable at times: It brings us together, it shares our happiness with others, it fills two bellies rather than one and it spreads the joy of eating among our friends and family! Few things can be more persuasive when convincing someone to try a dish than parting with it yourself. Buddha put in best when he said that “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
On the other hand, there’s a lot to say for being selfish: After all, what makes more happiness? One belly 100% full or two bellies 50% full? Somehow the logic adds up. Also, that “kindness” of sharing food can be fundamentally flawed: Typically, people tend to share food more when they don’t like it, in some desperate attempt to get rid of it. At one dinner party, I convinced everyone that my meal was so amazing, that everyone simply had to try it: The result was a clean plate, the undesirable food gone, room left for me to eat a pastrami and another typical Thanksgiving. While not sharing food may have its merits, its merits tend to be exaggerated by cynics. However, while I am hardly a cynical person, the cynic can raise a fair point. How did sharing food work out for our beloved authors? Seneca’s old boss, Claudius, was poisoned by a plate of wild mushrooms. This in turn, worked out for Seneca, since he was promoted by Claudius’ successor, Nero. That is, until Nero ordered Seneca to commit suicide. Except he died by slowly bleeding to death in a bath. If I have to die, I’d rather spend my last moments eating a plate of mushrooms. And Buddha? Some scholars believed that he died due to some bad pork that was shared with him by a peasant. Other scholars say it was due to a truffle or a mushroom (You think they’d learn about mushrooms a bit more, right?), and some unimaginative scholars say it was old age. Either way, this atrocity led to a bunch of Buddhist Monks advocating vegetarianism, which is probably why the religion suffered from low membership for a few hundred years (Similar problems happened with the Hebrews and Kosher law, until Christ fixed everything up with the new covenant. Bacon time!)
Generally, however, I tend to reject the aforementioned cynical views. However, on Wednesday, I discovered a definitive argument for not sharing food. It involved Debate, a standoff that put the Cuban Missile Crisis to shame and Guacamole.
What would transpire in the span of ten minutes would test family, friendship and culinary history: Leaders would rise, tensions would mount and the world would watch silently in horror as the actions of one waitress began what was soon to be called “The Great Guacamole Missile Crisis”
Author’s Note: Oddly enough, after spending 3 weeks without posting, and spending an evening going over various post ideas, I eventually decide to talk about guacamole, and chose to make a comparison to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Only after completing my post, did I realize that this is the 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Yep. Mhmm. Weird. Obviously, JFK’s ghost wanted me to write this.