October 14, 2018

Food for Thought

Why is it that beverages that people obsess over always include some mind altering substances like caffeine and alcohol? Why don’t people, for instance, obsess over mint tea or grape juice?

Imagine people talking about different regions, estates, and vintages of the mint tea or grape juice. Invent a whole language to describe how they taste. Publish magazines and blogs about them. Make documentary films about them. Create rating system. Employ a specialist at a restaurant just for pairing mint tea with food. Auction the rare ones for thousands of dollars. Develop a whole ritual around drinking them. Design different cups or glasses for different types of mint tea or grape juice.

Sounds ridiculous to imagine all these for any beverages that don’t contain alcohol or caffeine, like sodas, juices, herbal tea, and nonalcoholic beer.

Some people obsess over hot sauces too but that too is because spices can induce your brain to release endorphins and dopamines.

Many connoisseurs of wine, tea, and coffee underplay the mind altering aspect of these substances but obviously it’s the most important one. Without it, they wouldn’t obsess over it. The question is why. I think it’s because mind altering experience is the closest we have to a religious experience. In fact, many monks drink tea before meditation, and the production of wine and beer in Europe is closely tied to religions too.

Psychoanalytically, I believe the search for perfection in wine, coffee, and tea is unconsciously tied to search for religious truth, that is, God as perfection. That’s why people are willing to go far to find the perfect sip. The taste is only a decoy, objet petit a, MacGuffin.

#wine #tea #coffee #alcohol #religion #nycfoodie #obsession #foodie