Friday, October 29, 2010

Food in heaven

What do they eat in heaven?  Yesterday I contemplated this question while we attended an orchestra performance of Mahler's Fourth Symphony, which concludes with a vocal rendition of a very old German poem.  The poem talks about how heaven is superior to earth, and how great it's going to be once we get there.

This symphony is bad for people on an empty stomach, because the singer enumerates what's great about heaven, and turns out most of it has to do with food.  On the vegetable menu are all kinds of greens, asparagus, string beans; the fruits include apples, pears and grapes.  Angels bake the bread, and the wine is free.

But the best part of heaven is all the meat.  And to remind us of how life has changed, the best aspect of the meat is not how it tastes but its abundance.  Lambs and cows are butchered "without thought or concern."  If you want roebuck or rabbit, just walk down the street and one will come running to you; on a fast day, all kinds of fishes will happily show up for your dining pleasure -- carp, pike, trout, dried cod and fresh anchovies. 

We don't always remember how hard our ancestors had to work for their daily bread.  You did have to think twice before you killed a lamb -- how many lambs would you have left to grow up and keep your flock going?  Even though fish and game might have been plentiful, you still had to go get them, and in Germany the streams and fields might have been owned by the local nobility and thus off-limits to the peasants.

So no wonder the poet thought dinner would be the best time of the day in heaven.  Now, of course, our visions of heavenly food have to do less with being able to sit down at a full table than with avoiding diabetes and triple bypass from all the glorious food at our fingertips.

When I get to heaven, I'm going to eat pork chops, she-crab soup, mashed potatoes, Michigan perch, watermelon, and tuna on rye from a New York deli with a half-sour pickle on the side.  For breakfast, my sister's cinnamon rolls and for dessert, oatmeal cookie dough and coconut ice cream.  For snacks, white cheddar cheese popcorn and a whole can of Durkee's onion rings eaten with a spoon.

What about you?


  1. In heaven, I won't be allergic to anything!

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  2. In heaven someone else started the stock while I was still in bed, and it's ready by lunchtime.