One of the major pleasures in life is appetite, and one of our major duties should be to preserve it. Appetite is the keenness of living: it is one of the senses that tells you that you are still curious to exist, that you still have an edge on your longings and want to bite into the world and taste its numerous flavours and juices. By appetite, of course, I don’t mean just the desire for food, but any condition of unsatisfied desire, any burning in the blood that proves you want more than you’ ve got, and that you haven’t used up your life. Wilde said he felt sorry for those who never got their heart’s desire, but sorrier still for those who did. For appetite,for me, is this state of wanting, which keeps one’ s expectations alive.
I remember learning this lesson long ago as a child, when treats and indulgence were few, and when I discovered that the greatest pitch happiness was not in actually eating a toffee but in gazing at it beforehand. True, the first bite was delicious, but once the toffee was gone one was left with nothing, neither toffee nor lust.Besides, the whole toffeeness of toffees was imperceptibly diminished by the gross act of having eating it. No, the best was in wanting it, in sitting and looking at it, when one tasted an endless treasure house of flavours. So, for me, one of the keenest pleasures of appetite remains in the wanting, not the satisfaction. In wanting a peach, or a whisky, or a particular texture or sound, or to be with a particular friend. For in this condition, of course, I know that the object of desire is always at its most flawlessly perfect. For that matter, I don’t want three square meals a day -- I want one huge, delicious, orgiastic, table groaning blow out, say every four days, and then not be too sure where the next one is coming from. A day of fasting is not for me just a device for denying oneself a pleasure, but rather a way of anticipating a rarer moment of supreme enjoyment.