Grub first: breaking it down

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A brief note on this blog’s title…

As you can read in this site’s “About” section, I borrowed the title “Grub first” from a quote of German poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht– “grub first, then ethics.”

I began this blog for many reasons, but most chiefly because while to eat and thus to grub is a necessity, we humans have managed to transform the primal act of grabbing and ingesting food into a political, religious and social act.

Eating is political when we choose an organic, locally-grown tomato over a conventionally-grown product, religious when we demand that Kosher and Halal food be available in our college dining halls, and social when we gather with close friends to break bread.

We have made food and the act of eating all of these things and more, yet, as Brecht would remind us, “grub” remains a priority. Deliberate we might between saturated and unsaturated fats, but we still at a certain point need to eat.

Myriad resources exist today to guide and advise how and what we eat. Articles published in the New York Times and CNN synthesize studies on the merits of olive oil and blueberries, whole grains and arugula. News clips of Dr. Oz and other popular health figures inform us that Nutrient X is vital for healthy skin and hair, and that we should consider avoiding Food Y if we are pregnant and/or under the age of 10.

With such omnipresent reminders of the ability of food to do good or alternately harm, it can be easy to forget that eating is at its most basic a question of consuming enough calories to keep your body functioning. Mr. Brecht’s “grub” quote is this reminder.

Choose if you will vinagrette over dressing, but remember always to “grub first, then ethics.”


Quotations to live by

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“Follow your instincts. That’s where true wisdom manifests itself.” -Oprah Winfrey