Puritanical attitude towards food?

Does anyone else see a bit of Puritanism sneaking through when you hear certain foods spoken of as “decadent” or “sinfully delicious”?

That seems like a very un-Catholic turn of phrase. All food is a gift of God and is good. Some foods are so rich or calorie-laden that they cannot be indulged in every day, unless one has the metabolism of a blast furnace (which, sadly, I do not). And there is always the virtue of temperance in food and drink. Eating a piece of cake is good. Eating the whole cake at one sitting, not so good.

St Teresa of Avila said “penances are penances, and partridges are partridges”. Can we do any worse than to follow her example?

That’s an expression right? If someone doesn’t want to eat certain foods it’s their right. Trying to promote the idea to others is different.


Exactly. Within the bounds of temperance, eat or drink what you want to.

I was referring more to the squeamishness that some Christians seem to feel about enjoying themselves too much, being too happy, taking too much delight in something of this world, or something that appeals to the senses, feels good, or in this case, tastes good. That is classical Puritanism, not Catholicism.

Keep in mind, too, that Calvinism views mankind as utterly depraved. I have seen this mentality come across even in their pastoral counseling. It’s kind of warmed-over Albigensianism (spirit is good, matter is bad).


Never heard of it in this context. More like something a stereotype rich person would say at a dinner party in a Victorian setting.

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No, they’re just common usage. I doubt that anyone thinks about the literal meaning when they use these phrases – it’s just a way of saying very, extremely, wonderfully delicious.


Are you discussing advertising of food?


In my experience, real people don’t actually use those descriptions. They are mainly in commercials.


There is a pseudo documentary series called ‘Madmen’ about the rise of advertising on NYC . Fascinating to view as in how marketing shaped and guided certain values.

And used mostly for foods with a lot of calories and/or sugar.


I think it is a little Puritanical too get too worked up about the wording. If you wanted to be technical the wording suggests that it is so good it is a near occasion of falling into sensuality, but it is hyperbole.
Kind of like asking if a dessert in the case comes with a side of insulin. Nobody means it seriously, even though it is a serious matter for a few.


I think a lot of people in our culture, especially women, have really unhealthy attitudes towards food, and with the rising obesity rates I don’t see it getting any better.


In commercials, a chocolate cake is “sinfully delicious”. But is eating a piece of chocolate cake even a venial sin? Not in a normal situation. It could be a venial sin if you are being gluttonous, if you are diabetic and it isn’t good for you or took a piece you weren’t supposed to have. It could even be grave matter in rare cases (if you stole it from a homeless person with no other food, for example.)

But that something has a pleasing taste is not sinful at all.

I see a lot of demonization of food groups.

The current food demon is carbs, before that it was fat.

Truth is food is neutral. It’s the disordered use of it that’s sinful.


OK, but nobody thinks that choosing to eat “Death by Chocolate” is literally a suicide attempt. I think somebody calculated that it would take 8 kilos of chocolate or something like that to put the life of a 60 kilo person in danger. It is certainly not intended to produce a puritanical attitude towards dessert.

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Great point.

I don’t think it’s puritanical at all. I think such wording is used to create an atmosphere of “ooh, that’s so deliciously good, that’s so naughty, I’m going to be really, really bad and indulge that sinful temptation [because it has to be a sin for something to taste that good!]”. A proper Catholic attitude towards delicious food, by contrast, should be “this food, as do all good things, gives great glory to God, and it honors Him when I partake of this in moderation, giving Him the praise that is His due, thanking Him for His goodness in making something so delicious, and giving the chef the talent to make it”. Two entirely different approaches. Two entirely different ways of thinking.

We need, as Catholics, to ensure that our mentality in every way conforms to the faith that we profess, even in the mundane and everyday. For instance, I studiously avoid the word “lucky” because there is no such thing as “luck”, only Divine Providence. I substitute “blessed” or “thankful” in its place. I do not condemn people who say the word “lucky”, but I invite them to look at it from the point of view I propose.

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Would you please pass the Beef Wellington?

Ah, The Port is simply fabulous!


About the only time I see such puritanism from Catholics is eg during Lent, when some people will scold others for the way they will abstain from meat: “Going out for a Lobster Dinner isn’t very penitential!”

Except that it is.

The Church does not ask us to exhibit our penitence by eating something unpleasant nor by not enjoying our food. She asks (and sometimes requires) us to do so by abstaining from meat. And thus a Lobster Dinner qualifies, no matter what the puritanical might say.
:two::copyright::copyright: :lobster:


Or names of recipes on Pinterest! :slight_smile:


Thank you!

I remember having to explain why my tuna sandwich was ok to eat for Lent. It was oil packed tuna on ciabatta bread, with some arugula.

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