March 1, 2008

Gluttonous Rite takes place in New Jersey

Dante Alighieri in his epic poem The Divine Comedy, waxes poetically on the seven deadly sins.

Today we easily can condemn six of the originally 13th century transgressions. It's clear that lust, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride are not characteristics anyone wishes to associate themselves with.

But there is one sin in today's world that we continue to partake. In fact, we revel in Beelzebub's biggest blinge: Gluttony!

We even turned the more word, gluttony, into the more palpable, gourmand or connoisseur.

But there's nothing gourmet about the New Jersey rite of gluttony that passes for charitable socializing.

It's something out of the decadent turn of the century just after the 300-pound President William Henry Taft takes office. When men, and only men, gorged themselves on meat, bread and beer. But it's happening right now. Right after the turn of this century.

The New York Times describes this gluttonous ritual almost gleefully. It's called a "beefsteak", an all-you-can-eat-and-drink debacle in New Jersey's Bergen and Passaic counties.
It was Friday evening at V.F.W. Post 4591 in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., and the scene was a vegetarian’s nightmare.

About 350 men, seated shoulder to shoulder at long tables, were devouring slices of beef tenderloin and washing them down with pitchers of beer. As waiters brought trays of meat, the guests reached over and harvested the pink slices with their bare hands, popping them down the hatch.

“Once you start going to beefsteaks, it’s an addiction,” said Al Baker, a Hasbrouck Heights policeman who had organized the evening’s festivities to benefit the Special Olympics. “You’ve got the tender beef, butter, salt, French fries, beer — all your major food groups.
Maybe Pope Gregory the Great had it right listing gluttony as a sin. It's bad for your health and it's very hard to juxtapose it with the lack of food in the rest of the world.

I never thought of it like this, but RightSizingAmerica is not just the right thing for your health, but it's the right thing for your soul as well.

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