WOW Word-Of-the-Week #424: Epicurean

September 19, 2012 by  

Epicurean – devoted to the pursuit of sensual pleasure, especially to the enjoyment of good food and comfort.

We had some of the best food on our Uniworld Rhône River Cruise in August. Half way through Chef Roger treated us to an Epicurean dinner. It consisted of tastes of three appetizers, soup, an entrée and dessert. I remember thinking, “I’ve heard this word but don’t really know what it means.” So I did some research and this is what I found on Wikipedia.

“Epicurus believed that pleasure is the greatest good. But the way to attain pleasure was to live modestly and to gain knowledge of the workings of the world and the limits of one’s desires. The philosophy originated by Epicurus in 307 BCE, flourished for seven centuries. It propounded an ethic of individual pleasure as the sole or chief good in life. Hence, Epicurus advocated living in such a way as to derive the greatest amount of pleasure possible during one’s lifetime, yet doing so moderately in order to avoid the suffering incurred by overindulgence in such pleasure.

The emphasis was placed on pleasures of the mind rather than on physical pleasures. Therefore, according to Epicurus, with whom a person eats is of greater importance than what is eaten. Unnecessary and, especially, artificially produced desires were to be suppressed. Since learning, culture, and civilization as well as social and political involvements could give rise to desires that are difficult to satisfy and thus result in disturbing one’s peace of mind, they were discouraged.

Knowledge was sought only to rid oneself of religious fears and superstitions, the two primary fears to be eliminated being fear of the gods and of death. Viewing marriage and what attends it as a threat to one’s peace of mind, Epicurus lived a celibate life but did not impose this restriction on his followers.”

So this week my thought is to focus on the enjoyment of good food (in moderation) and comfort, knowing that who we share a meal with is more important than what is eaten. My dad is turning 94 on Sunday and we plan on taking him to Anthology to hear Count Basie’s Band. It’s is a supper club so we will be indulging lots of different pleasures! Have you ever had an Epicurean experience? What Epicurean experience could you offer your customers, guests, clients, members, family or friends?

Reader Responses

“Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!  Thank you for sharing!” – Linda

“Happiest of Birthdays to your dad!  I hope he enjoys the concert and have you all around him. What a wonderful gift you are giving him – have FUN!” – Mary

“Thank you so very much Susan for your WOW words. You are amazing!” – Lily

“Hmmm so thus the root of an “EPIC” party.” – John

“I have heard the word epicurean, but I never knew what it meant and never looked it up because I never used it. I enjoy a leisurely meal with friends and family. And I agree, the meal is incidental to the company, the conversation and the relaxation. I guess as I get older, I am interested in simpler things, like a nice meal, a great concert (like the Count Basie show), a sporting event or simply going to the park with my four-year-old daughter. As much as I enjoy the physical pleasures, it is the pleasures shared with others that make my relationships blossom that I seek out. Leisure is what our lives should be about every day. We don’t set enough time aside for those epicurean delights. Thanks for the word, Susan. Have a wonderful weekend.” – “Warrior” Joe


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