Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Three Ideals of Gilbert

Eat Pray Love. The very title of Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel represents how each country, Italy, India, Indonesia, affected her way of living. Those three simple ideas to eat, to pray, to love, are found, hopefully, amongst many homes. For many people, the three “ideals” of Gilbert are found within one home and one country. For Gilbert, she needed to boldly travel abroad for a year to discover herself and how she relates to each action. Now, that she has identified a sense of home and comfort within eating, praying, loving, she can do it anywhere.
In a way, Gilbert has established three key elements to establishing a good home. The first being food is one that brings not only satisfaction, pleasure and a full stomach, but also comfort, memory and warmth. Every time I’ve been on break lately, I always ask my Dad to make this delicious italian sausage, escarole and bean soup. It’s simple and delicious and even though each time we discuss how I could just make it at school too, I know I like it better when he does and I can eat it every day over the course of break.
Italy will certainly teach you how to eat. The food is absolutely delicious and the key is how to eat. In Italy, everything is done in courses. First, you have your Antipasti, like artichoke or fried zucchini flowers, then your Primi Piatti (First Plate) which is usually a pasta, closely followed by Secondi Piatti which is usually a meat, then desert, and a cafĂ© to finish. I thoroughly enjoyed eating dinner with friends and host family in this way. Instead of a quick tv dinner in front of the tv, food takes a while and people are forced to talk with one another!! It’s madness but it works. I personally believe that there is no better bonding than over some good food and drink.
Not to cut short the analysis of prayer and love, I want to encompass both within the discussion of the meal. In my family, we pray before each family dinner and give our intentions up for the Man upstairs. I would also hope that over this meal and chatter, we bond as a family, love and grow. Thus, as much as Gilbert’s three “ideals” of eating, praying and loving are separate for her. They can be intermixed and mingled into one event. That is the beauty of home. It is not simply one aspect like an italian sausage, escarole and bean soup. Home involves the ability to eat, to pray, to love, to live, and to laugh with one another.
For Gilbert, this took her three different countries where she had to learn from within herself how to do each. For too many years, she had been following a set track, and no offense to her, going through the motions. There was a set pattern and she lost herself amongst it. Gilbert had to literally break free and discover the key aspects of human life she had been slowly losing touch with. These three “ideals” to eat, to pray, to love are the three components and building blocks to any good home and homeland. Thus, like Rushdie’s Imaginery Homelands, we can build a home for ourselves first from within ourselves and then, we are able to feel home anywhere and with anyone in the world.

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