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“You only take with you what you have in your stomach.”

Posted By Makena Hudson On May 14, 2013 @ 11:03 pm In Folk speech,Proverbs | Comments Disabled

“You only take with you what you have in your stomach.”


This proverb was shared with the informant by her mother, who told her that you have to enjoy what you eat because when you die, the only thing you take with you to the next life (or death) is the food in your stomach. She says that she lives by the saying because the most important thing to her is what she’s eating next. She says food is important to her because it’s a sense of nourishment and it comforts a primal need while still remaining very personal. The informant said it was one of the few things she doesn’t mind splurging on. She feels food is different from material objects because it makes you happy in a different way because it represents comfort, family, and home (“it’s like being loved”). She feels especially happy when eating Mexican food (her mother, the family’s primary cook, is Mexican).

The informant finds this useful and important because it has maintained her good relationship with food. The proverb serves a dual purpose of championing eating healthily as well as well (food that “nourishes the soul;” things that taste good), because the body is important, but also transient, and the pleasures that come with it are impermanent.

Care taken with food is a commonality in all cultures, and this saying is representative of a positive outlook on food that is often absent in certain circles of developed worlds (because food is sometimes at odds with body image). The positivity of this proverb is important and emphasizes the relationship between the feelings shared between people (as here between a mother and daughter) and links that with a healthy relationship toward food (i.e. food is love itself).

Article printed from USC Digital Folklore Archives: http://folklore.usc.edu

URL to article: http://folklore.usc.edu/?p=18907