By Federica Bassetti
There is something eternal and incomprehensible even in the food we eat and when we eat, we not only satisfy our instinct for self-preservation but we are looking for ourselves. In the predilection for certain foods and in the aversion to others, in the choice almost never aware of our nourishment, we go in search of a contentment that would risk numbing our soul, if it were only dictated by the instinct for survival. F. Nietzsche (1814 1900) who truly carried out a field invasion into the official cultural world of his time by destroying the old tables of moral, philosophical, religious and civil values of his Europe with a pickaxe, of which he prophesies the next funeral of the '900, was beset by the problem of nutrition. In "Ecce homo", the latest work and spiritual and lucid dismissal of the great mystic of the new values who will then be assaulted by madness, he claims to worry more than any other problem or subtlety by theologians, precisely of the problem of nutrition.
A man who can rise above the petty contemporary reality, must know how to respond to the needs of the body, a body that needs a good climate and a good table, who knows what he wants and who above all seeks healthy, light food. , French or Italian, far from the original German cuisine that does not know how to digest and that offers the soup before lunch and phantastic dessert-paperweight as a final punishment.
The wise body also makes good use of wine and chases the ideal of the Piedmontese diet, the best and most satisfying for the German philosopher who does not forget the beautiful period spent in Turin where his friend Overbeck found him at the end of 1888 in one confusional and almost terminal state between the unconscious satirism of the choreutians of ancient Dionysus and the desperation of the misunderstood and alone genius, never warmed by the love of a companion.
The eternal hunger for philosophy
Nietzsche says he ate badly all his life, perennial exile around Europe, forced to the impersonal tables of restaurants and pensions that welcome him from time to time and as a good philosopher of great contempt, he hates beer, ruinous national drink and heavy on the stomach and despised even by that old categorical and Prussian iron like Immanuel Kant who greatly prefers the drink invented by Dionysus-Bacchus for the delight of men and whose "compromising" abuse also traces an original analysis in the his "metaphysics of customs", preferring to the beer hangover that makes it rough and vulgar, just the intoxication caused by wine, more refined and healthy, but no less dangerous.
Kant loves barley soups, if possible with vermicelli, loves the butter with which he greases his canapes, not always perfectly geometric as his mind of order and critic of reason and its limits would like, eats with taste roasted and precooked of veal but in old age, no longer provided with a good teething, he prefers to chew it and spit out the mouthfuls of it hidden under the crusts of the bread.
One evening he returned from a tavern where he used to take refuge in his beloved and natal Koningsberg from which he never moves, it took him a while to find his way home. His eyes were not very critical in those moments and his mental categories that had so much importance in his transcendental dialectic, no longer acted as they should have on the empirical-real material, Kant saw us double and when he finally arrived at the front door, his faithful servant Lampe heaved a sigh of relief. It was he who prepared the meals for Immanuel and marked the favorite dishes of the friends on the philosopher's order so that on their return they found the favorite dishes on the Kantian table where the philosopher never sat alone and a story - legend maybe a little fictional tells of a nice and shrewd Lampe who, on the master's orders, runs into the street looking for a passing guest to invite to Kant's house.
But Kantian criticism, it is known, has been overcome and incorporated into the idealism of Hegel and Hegel has been put on the bench by Nietzsche and Nietzsche becomes the nightmare of the twentieth century, of existentialists, of those who try to recover man from fragments war explosions and that during the desperate process of reconstruction of thought, are seized by that sense of vertigo that takes the sight of the abyss that becomes nauseated for an era that has swallowed death and blood and eternal hunger for impossible truths.
Jean Paul Sartre of Nausea made the title of one of his greatest literary works and as a good nonconformist Frenchman, he developed a sense of horror precisely for the sacred emblems of the French cuisine of the rich. Oysters, molluscs in general and lobsters with shrimps, scampi and polyps are the macabre diet to be avoided, they represent the idea of a fossil world sealed in its shells that must not be violated, they are the hidden shadow behind the food, the legacy of an archaic world that once belonged to us and which now rebels against man, a voracious eater of other beings with whom he plugs the holes in his soul. If once it was precisely the marine diet in shell rich in fatty acids that gave the human brain the supply necessary for an evolution in a big way, Sartre sees in the food-ancestor of our human history, the presence of sinister taboo messages that they preserve it from consuming fish and direct it towards a more homemade cuisine, elaborated if possible by man: bread, sweets, cheeses, biscuits, salami are things transformed by the hand of man and are human things, eat them it is good for the social spirit and frees us from forays into different, foreign worlds, bordering on nothingness that opens up under the waves of the sea and under the earth.
One evening when he reached his historical partner "Simone de Bouvoir", Sartre quickly closes the door behind him, is feverish and agitated, in the middle of one of his experiments on the imagination and therefore under the effect of the mescaline that provides him with doctor friend. He shakes his head in despair, sits down and says to Simone, frightened and confused: “Please keep the door closed, I'm chased by a lobster".
Federica Bassetti has a degree in philosophy and is the author of monologues on subjects of
history and philosophy.