Friday, January 23, 2015

A Case for (Culinary) Sensuality

Perhaps one of the more unusual aspects of Koufuku Graffiti, a.k.a. Gourmet Girl Graffiti, are the rather... sensual eating scenes. Especially compared to the innocent look of the rest of the show, those scenes can come off to some Christians as unsavory, due to having just a bit of an erotic feel to them (Kirin even says so in the first episode about Ryou's eating style). As far as I am concerned, though, I think these scenes work well for the show. For a show that's all about food, they really highlight just how much the girls are enjoying the taste of the food. The "sensuality" is definitely there, in the sense that they are an attempt to evoke the sense of taste visually, moreso than being sexual in nature. As far as "fanservice" scenes go, it's actually quite... tasteful.

(Yeah, go ahead and throw tomatoes at me now. Fresh tomatoes please, though.)

You do realize every post about this show will start with a screencap of food, right?
Whether or not you approve of this show's displays of culinary sensuality, I think "sensuality" is an interesting topic worth considering for Christians. The Bible does have some strong words against sensuality, such as in 2 Peter 2, though according to the ESV Study Bible's notes, the actual original Greek word used, "aselgeia", refers to "lack of self-constraint" or "abandonment to immoral behavior", and usually refers to sexual sin, though it can certainly apply to eating habits as well. Eating with no self-constraint leads to all sorts of health problems, and as we are called to take care of our bodies to be temples for the Holy Spirit, having self-control with regards to food is an important thing.

That being said, the "sensuality" I'm talking about here, which is represented in Gourmet Girl Graffiti, is not unrestrained eating, but rather, simply enjoying the flavors of food. And that is a part of eating food that I think we all take for granted. How often do we just stuff food in our mouths, chew it, and push it down our throats without giving more than a couple thoughts to how the food tastes?

God could have made the world with only a minimally-functioning sense of taste, enough to warn us when we're about to eat something poisonous and nothing more. Instead, He gave us a sense of taste that allows us to greatly enjoy the process of eating. Eating moves from just being a bodily function we need to perform to survive to a way of experiencing pleasure on a regular basis without potentially causing serious harm (as long as we are careful and keep things in moderation).

Savoring our food's flavors has all sorts of advantages. By directing our attention to what we're eating instead of how much we're eating, we can more easily move toward eating better food (unless you really think McDonald's is gourmet fare), and with the right mindset, we can be satisfied with smaller portions. More importantly, while we are eating, we can praise God for great flavors and for making eating an enjoyable experience.

Like all good things, though, culinary sensuality can be taken to bad extremes. There's a difference between enjoying your food and demanding that your food be only of the highest quality. Even without going to that extreme, there is no reason to break your budget for taste; culinary sensuality is not a license to eat at fancy restaurant every night. And while this can also apply to other sensual experiences such as enjoying a visually-impressive anime or listening to great music, it clearly should not be applied to certain experiences, such as drug use or sexual immorality.

All that being said, I would wager that our problem is less likely that we enjoy food too much, and more likely that we do not enjoy our food enough, or at least, not in a truly God-glorifying way. In that way, Gourmet Girl Graffiti, in all its sensual glory, is a good reminder to savor our food every now and then.

1 comment:

  1. Honestly the "sensual" eating scenes seemed out of place to me. It was incredibly awkward to watch them, and I honestly picked this series up out of an obsession with watching currently running shows. I dropped it not because I thought it was necessarily sexually or gluttonously inappropriate. It was simply an interesting concept executed in a way that made it awkward to watch.