Cook Extravagantly, Eat With Pleasure: In Defense of Greed

Greed is one of the seven deadly sins, so who would want to be called greedy?

Nigella Lawson might. One of her prized cookbooks is the Victorian-era A Guide For The Greedy By A Greedy Woman, which she loaned to writer Jeanette Winterson as the inspiration for a thought-provoking essay on the subject.

The author of A Guide For The Greedy By A Greedy Woman was not the usual Victorian lady. Elizabeth Robins Pennell bicycled around Europe, wrote for magazines, and believed cycling and cooking were good for the body and soul. Women should have an appetite, should enjoy eating their food, and — though she was writing for women who could afford their own cooks — should find pleasure in cooking.

Winterson points out that "ERP" used the most luxurious ingredient of all: time.

Time - even tiny amounts of it, can be enjoyed in food preparation. The sandwich is ERP's fast-food - and her descriptions of wrapped paper packages and snow-chilled Alsace transform the office lunch into an encounter with the infinite. "Between slices of good bread place thick uncompromising pieces of beef or mutton... lettuce, celery, watercress, radishes, not one may you not test to your own higher happiness... and your art may be measured by your success in proving the onion to be the poetic soul of the sandwich."

To deeply love food, to enjoy the process of cooking, to pursue the perfect sandwich — this is really what it means to be greedy. If you have ever experienced the particular satisfaction of sitting down and joyfully eating a good meal you have prepared with thought and care, you will appreciate this essay.

Read the article: Greedy Women at Stylist

Related: Weekend Meditation: Appreciation for Pleasure

(Image: BBC2)

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Anjali is a former private chef who is currently pursuing a graduate degree in nutrition, with plans to become a registered dietitian. She lives in Los Angeles. You can read more of her health-focused writing at Eat Your Greens.