Eating With Your Whole Body

27 Sep

In The Gourmet Club, Tanizaki describes “magical food” as being food that stimulates all the senses of the human body, not merely the taste buds. This “gastronomical magic” absorbs your whole self into the act of eating, utilizing every one of your senses. While eating this magical food, people do not use merely their tongues. When the members of the Gourmet Club eat Count G’s special food, they “taste it with their eyes, their noses, their ears, and at times with their skin. At risk of exaggerating, every part of them had to become a tongue”(Tanizaki, The Gourmet Club). Magical food stimulates all the senses so that it is as if your whole body tastes the food. Your whole body participates in the act of eating, making it a wholesome and satisfying experience.

In The Gourmet Club, one example of magical food is when the room is made pitch dark and the club members experience the whole meal in total darkness. By getting rid of light, all the other senses are strengthened. Thus, all the senses, excluding sight, took part in the meal, and what felt like a woman’s fingers magically transformed into delicious cabbage. Food that appeals to all of our senses results in the most satisfying of meals.

Count G finds magic and pleasure in this Chinese cuisine. However, people in China who are familiar with this food would probably not get the same sense of pleasure. Perhaps their magical food is the Japanese food that Count G has gotten so bored of. Thus, this sense of exoticism that you get when you eat foreign food can contribute to the sense of magic. Tasting new and exotic things can help to elicit magical sensations.


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