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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Egg Hunt - Hunting and Gathering on a Full Stomach

As usual, we had our Easter egg hunt today. Bow is the only member of the household still young enough for this. He knew it was coming up when he saw me preparing the plastic eggs. He made excited food vocalizations.

But as much as Bow enjoys M&Ms with peanuts and Cadbury eggs, you can see by watching the footage of the Easter egg hunt that Bow is not really hungry.

I gave it some time after breakfast, before I started the hunt, but clearly these treats are not a substitute for a meal, and Bow never misses a meal. As such, he is not desperate for the candy, and you can tell this by the way he conducts his search. He goes for the nearest and easiest to find egg. If a piece of candy drops out of his grasp, he does not hurry to pick it up. He may later go and get it, or he may not.

Everything tastes better when you are hungry. Most of us living in the United States have never truly been hungry, so we don't feel desperate for food, and quite possibly the food we do eat does not taste nearly as good as it would if we were  in desperate need of it.

But there's also another aspect of this. Many of us try not to waste food, and we have an ethic that tells us to save some for later and not allow a single morsel to go stale or ferment or go bad before it is consumed by someone. For a true hunter gatherer, it is always feast or famine. During a famine you must eat whatever is available. During a feast, your natural sense of satiety must dominate, because it would not be good to eat till you burst.

We do have mechanisms to keep us from over-eating built in, even in the case of plenty. But sometimes our ethic of frugality overrides those instincts. Bow is smart not to feel compelled by ethics to overindulge or to value food at the same price during a glut as during a famine.


  1. I like how you worked hunters and gatherers in to the Easter celebration. I am not doing anything out of the usual today. Except it is a day off. Only difference. If I had kids I probably would, but beyond a few craft things I make, that is it.

    1. Thanks, Julia. I think we are designed to live the hunter-gatherer life. We often get into trouble when we depart from that, because we subvert all the natural mechanism that are supposed to keep us running smoothly.
      Are your nephews and nieces teenagers now? I bet they have great memories of their earlier Easter hunts with you.

  2. I think it's pretty cool that you make the effort to have an Easter Egg hunt with Bow every year.
    You're right that we get into trouble when we overindulge. Sometimes when something is SO good though, it is hard to stop when we're full, even with the voices screaming in our head, "ENOUGH!".

    1. As long as we still hear those inner voices, it's okay. I think when we stop hearing them altogether is when the real problems start.