Jonathan Swift quotes on food and drink

Jonathan Swift tends to be practical in his quotes about food. He doesn’t seem to take any delight in it but saw it merely as necessary for sustaining life, and as such was keen that it should be not be wasted. As you might expect of a clergyman, he disapproved of excess, especially if it involved alcohol.

Cartoon illustration of shamrocks. Image copyright Ireland Calling

Better belly burst than good drink lost.
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He was a bold man that first ate an oyster.

Illustration of Jonathan Swift quote. He was a bold man that first ate an oyster. Image copyright Ireland Calling

My nose itched, and I knew I should drink wine or kiss a fool.
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There is in every cook’s opinion
No savoury dish without an onion.
But lest your kissing should be spoiled,
Your onions must be fully boiled.
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When the belly is full, the bones would be at rest.
Cartoon illustration of shamrocks. Image copyright Ireland Calling
I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child, well nursed, is at a year old, a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout.

This quote is taken from Swift’s satirical work, A Modest Proposal. It was written in response to British complaints that the Irish poor were a burden on society. Swift’s satirical proposal was to suggest that the poor should be used as food for the rich. This would make them useful and reduce their numbers at the same time.

Sykes Irish cottages

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I have fed like a farmer: I shall grow as fat as a porpoise.
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Illustration of Jonathan Swift quote: A tavern is a place where madness is sold by the bottle. Image copyright Ireland Calling
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Indeed, Madame, your ladyship is very sparing of your tea; I protest the last I took was no more than water bewitched.
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Bread is the staff of life.
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Ever eating, never cloying,
All-devouring, all-destroying
Never finding full repast,
Till I eat the world at last.

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