11 August 2011

on Volvos and salmon

". . . we [modern American prigs] cherish a myth of conversion in which we throw off the character our society gives us and put on a new one in all ways vastly superior. Normally this great change is achieved by education, enhanced by travel, refined by reading certain publications, manifested in the approved array of scruples and concerns, observed ritually in the drinking of water, the eating of fish, the driving of Volvos, and otherwise."

-from "Puritans and Prigs" in The Death of Adam by Marilynne Robinson


Hmm. Color me guilty. I love self-improvement and I love thinking of myself as "vastly superior."

Of course, I do believe that the drinking of water and the eating of (wild-caught) fish are wonderful things.* (Also, I wouldn't say no to a Volvo XC.) Usually I roast my eggplant or make my kefir with motives of health, taste, environmental responsibility, frugality, and flat-out aesthetics. Forget about the snob factor-- I just want those free-range eggs for the golden yolk!

However, I readily admit that less worthy motives creep in, not the least of which is this proud desire to be "vastly superior." A good reminder to check my heart as I check my grocery list.

*In fact, we had pan-fried tilapia for dinner. Accompanied by water . . . oh, and Chardonnay.


  1. Great post, Rebekah. Very good thoughts.

  2. I enjoyed this, especially the quote. Good thing eating real food often requires so much darn hard work and/or advance planning, it helps keep us examining our motives (i.e., "Why the heck am I driving 2 hours to do my turn at the raw milk pick up? Oh yeah, it's totally worth it for the health of my family").