Epicurus (341-270 BCE) was one of the most influential ancient Greek philosophers of his time and his philosophy remains applicable today. We get the term Epicurean from Epicurus, although the meaning of that word doesn’t really capture the actual ethos of his teachings. The epitome of the Epicurean way of life can be simply summed up as, ‘sharing good food with friends’. Epicurus wasn’t banging on about what we would consider to be gourmet food, rather, he emphasised an enjoyment of a healthy abundance of good food to be eaten communally. This fits nicely with what I think is the essential nature of catering for friends and family during celebrated occasions. Delicious dishes, created with fresh produce and special ingredients, served up professionally to provide the very best hospitality.
In Search of the Perfect Life
In the 21C, it could be suggested that we are all in search of the perfect life. The preceding decades have been about rounding off the sharp corners and hard bits from our lives. It is difficult to deny that we enjoy easier existences today, than did our parents and grandparents. Technology has come to the fore with labour saving devices left, right and centre. Life is more like a bowl of cherries than ever before. Epicurus was a materialist; and we live in the most materialistic age known to humankind. He believed that the universe was eternal and infinite, and that the natural world was made of atoms, moving about and interacting in space. A clever chap, obviously, considering that he lived over two millennia ago. That such a sage thinker would harbour such powerful feelings about the importance of sharing good food with friends, is, I think, quite telling in itself.
Enjoy The Garden of Life
Epicurus founded his school of philosophy on his home island of Samos. He called it, The Garden, and there, he and his followers, shared good food and wisdom. His teachings were predicated on the maxims of ‘peace and freedom from fear’. He grounded his philosophy on the pragmatic mission of overcoming the primal fear of death. Epicurus taught that our assumption that our deaths will be painful and horrific are misplaced. Basically, he stated that when we are dead, we are dead, we do not feel anything anymore, end of story. He encouraged his communards to enjoy life, whilst they were alive, and not to worry about dying or being dead. Sound advice, if you ask me.
Epicurus in His Own Words
“The magnitude of pleasure reaches its limit in the removal of all pain. When such pleasure is present, so long as it is uninterrupted, there is no pain either of body or of mind or of both together. The flesh receives as unlimited the limits of pleasure; and to provide it requires unlimited time. But the mind, intellectually grasping what the end and limit of the flesh is, and banishing the terrors of the future, procures a complete and perfect life, and we have no longer any need of unlimited time. Nevertheless, the mind does not shun pleasure, and even when circumstances make death imminent, the mind does not lack enjoyment of the best life.”
Enjoyment of the Best Life has to Offer
Enjoyment of the best life has to offer, is what I consider to be an essential component of fine catering and hospitality. We come together with friends and family to celebrate life’s special moments with delicious food and drinks. People have been breaking bread together to honour important occasions since time immemorial. Hospitality is the bedrock upon which civilisations are formed and flourish. Catering for weddings, wakes, anniversaries, birthdays, and important functions, brings people together to mark those occasions with the pleasurable activities we know as eating and imbibing. We want to share pleasure, and not pain, with our fellow human beings during festive occasions. The feast serves up the best produce available in the land to all the invited guests. It is an archetypal ritualised human activity, which has been going on for a very long time.
Epicureanism was very popular back in his day, as it spread throughout the ancient Greek world. Perhaps, it is time for an Epicurean renaissance? It seems, particularly apt for the present zeitgeist, as we learn to live together in multicultural megapolises like Sydney. The current cultural agenda speaks of respect for diversity and human rights. It is about human beings getting along and sharing the important things together in the spirit of fairness. Sharing good food with friends and family at a catered event is probably a good start in the right direction. Hatrick Catering would love to be a part of your next special occasion. We provide exceptional catering for every event. Our outstanding fine food is the perfect accompaniment to the important and pleasurable parts of your life.