This section is from the book "Fletcherism. What It Is, Or How I Became Young At Sixty", by Horace Fletcher. Also available from Amazon: Fletcherism, What It Is, Or How I Became Young At Sixty.
The menace of the munificent menu also leads to the uncomfortable acquisition of surplus avoirdupois. On some persons it has quite the opposite effect, however. The writer remembers that it was a tradition in his college that the thinnest man of a class was always the biggest glutton. Each year, a prize of a combination knife, fork, and spoon, was given to the grossest eater of the junior class. Within my memory the recipient was always a very thin and cadaverous fellow.
As a matter of fact, the hardest work done by the body is performed within the body. It is the work of digestion, general metabolism, and the constant and never-ceasing pumping of the blood through hundreds of miles of veins and arteries. If this work is measured in terms of heat units thrown off (calories) the internal activity of the body is as two to three parts of the whole heat energy released into the surrounding air.
It is quite possible to increase this heat expense by 20 to 50 per cent. by merely overloading the stomach a little, and crowding the mechanism of metabolism to its utmost. Sometimes the crowding is carried so far that the organism cannot stand it; sometimes bursts; and, there you are - dead.
The supremest felicity is not wanting anything. If one cannot think of a single thing in the wide, wide world, not even oblivion, that they would have in addition to what they are enjoying at the moment, their cup of contentment is full.
In regard to eating, to have Fletcher-ized a few morsels of the finest food that anyone's mother ever made, until there is no desire for more, and yet the contentment is of that calm sort that indicates that there is no overloading of the stomach, is gastronomic Heaven, and it carries with it a blanket of general contentment that covers the universe.
On the other hand, to have eaten unwisely, as the result of animal voracity, over-estimate of capacity, and greed of getting outside of all that must be paid for, or, in slavish deference to aggressive hospitality, is Hell from the finish of the meal until the finish of the "spell of sickness" that may follow the gorge. It were almost possible to sink into the depths of such gluttony on any one, two or three of the best dishes possible to imagine; only a modern multiple mixed menu is liable to bring this degradation, and hence the menace of it.
Suppose, again, you are framing up a business deal, and have a customer "on the string."The best way to get at his heart and pocket-book is through the sociability accompanying a sumptuous meal.
You seek a Princess' Restaurant, a Ritz-Carlton or a Waldorf, and make a spread of your Epicurean generosity, your bank account, and your business web or net. If you insist on filling your guests full of everything, you must set the example. Results: Similar in all cases.
Science is not even secure against the temptation of the monumental menu. The writer has known the citadel of scientific conservatism to be captured by five-dollar still-wine and fifty-cent cigars, as accompaniments of six-course dinner-dreams. This, too, in the interest of an Epicurean Economy that put all of the academic teachings in the back-number list, and favored fifty-cent banquets with nary a cigar to top off the feast.