“Perhaps alone among the animals, we have the capacity to communicate with one another with the use of sentences never before used, to acquire knowledge of complex truths, and to use the knowledge we acquire to act autonomously.  My work has been devoted to explaining the nature and function of these precious gifts, without loosing sight of the fact that we too are animals.”

I thought of this during our week in Umbria.  Particularly during on specific lunch, in a very small village at a very precious osteria.  During the secondi course, we were served an amazing pork roast, with crispy skin the color of caramel, salty, fatty, so succulent it needed nothing to aid in its appeal.  I realized, as I sat there eating slowly, savoring the flavour, the crunch of the skin in my mouth, that my brain was being flooded with endorphins, with pleasure, with the feeling of sexual fantasy.  This primal craving we have for smooth, velvety, luxurious animal fats is pure pleasure, based on pre-historic needs.  The pleasure then wasn’t the same as now — now we can taste it with the idea that it is a luxury, one that is so simple and easy with none of the complication and complexity of truffles.  It was making my brain swell with excitement — it was coating my mouth in fatty goodness, and left me feeling as if I had just made love all night.  My thoughts were muddled, my brain was impaired.  Looking around the room, I saw similar faces, similar thoughts running through the minds of my fellow eaters, my fellow animals, my fellow cravers of pleasure.

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