“Unlimited appetite”

I came across an article today by Michael Lewis that appeared in The New Republic, which reviews a new book about the billionaire Warren Buffett, penned by his official biographer Alice Schroeder. All the stuffy business and finance stuff aside which Buffett is best known for, the book also delves into the mind behind the man if you will, including a food-related story which describes the man’s diet.

“He confines himself to the diet of an eight-year-old, refusing to eat anything much beyond spaghetti, hamburgers, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Schroeder describes a bizarre scene in which Katharine Graham escorted Buffett to dinner at the Manhattan apartment of Sony Chairman Akio Morita. Japanese chefs served plate after plate that Buffett left completely untouched. “By the end of fifteen courses, he still had not eaten a bite,” writes Schroeder. “The Moritas could not have been more polite, which added to his humiliation. He was desperate to escape back to Kay’s apartment, where popcorn and peanuts and strawberry ice cream awaited him. ‘It was the worst,’ he says about the meal he did not eat. ‘I’ve had others like it but it was by far the worst. I will never eat Japanese food again.'” Buffett ate what he needed to eat to remain alive–and learned what he needed to learn to invest shrewdly.”

Now I know many well-off people who are thoroughly taking advantage of their personal circumstances, who also hold a high degree of respect for great food, and for them, dining out and traveling great distances to taste new things is a passion. I also know of many who are of more limited means (yours truly among them), who do try to seek out the same kind of stimulation, albeit perhaps in a more second-hand or lower tier kind of way. And lastly, I know of those who seem to really detest having to eat or have no interest in trying things they are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with, and this spans both rich and non-rich people. To this day, whenever I meet someone new, who despite appearances (e.g. tall, big body structures who would seem at first glance, not the type to shy away from a plate of seconds anywhere) who have very limited diets, it shocks me.

I do realize that food and enjoying eating is not everyone’s cup of tea or a source of enjoyment in their life. For some reason though, I pity them. As a human being, with the taking in of valuable nutrients to keep us alive a necessity, why not make the mundane exciting and new, by challenging one’s self to explore all this great world that is full of countless cultures has to offer through their cuisine.

If you had endless means to satisfy your passion for food, dining and travel… would you too limit yourself to a diet you knew only as a child? Or would you go to the ends of the earth to take in something totally new? Better yet, tell me what you would do and eat, and where? (SMILE)

2 thoughts on ““Unlimited appetite”

  1. Really interesting read and topic for discussion. I myself will never limit myself to such thing. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, when I was growing up, my parents taught me about the hardship they faced and, as a result, learned to appreciate food. And because my family moved from one continent to another, that provided us with another new set of food sources – which I quickly learned to appreciate. If I ever have children, I hope I will be able to teach them something similar. Having said that…

    Assuming I had unlimited resources, I would certainly try new spots. However, I would do it with a twist: rather than going to fine dining places, which by itself can be an experience (I am looking at you, El Bulli!), instead, I would try to go and try dishes that average people would eat and, once in a while, dishes reserved for special occasions. That means planning might be a nightmare to ensure I get there on time for the festivities! Would I go to ends of the earth to try new things (again with unlimited means)? Certainly; even to the extent of living with locals/natives just to understand their take on life (although not to the extent of eating the rectum of a warthog). But, at the end of the day, endless travelling might also take its toll. As a result, after a while, I will be back to the place I call “home” and have things available at arm’s reach.

    • Thanks for leaving your thoughts as always KimHo.

      Your background sure sounds interesting, with the shift your family experienced from one food culture to another through immigration. I can just imagine the “fusion” of food that must have occurred when trying to make something from one country, but having to rely on only ingredients available in another country.

      I liked hearing your ideas of what you would do with endless amounts of money (and perhaps time) to fulfil your foodie quest. 🙂

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