Seeking a Quotation to Paint in our Dining Room
May 6, 2006 6:43 PM   Subscribe

Quotation Filter: We'd like to have a quote painted on the ceiling over our dining room table. All of the ones we're turning up are coming up short. The basic idea is a celebration of happiness, warmth, friends, family and food.

Two quotations that are in the running are

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -J.R.R.Tolkien

Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with. -Mark Twain

We do cook. We do eat at the table as a family. We throw small dinner parties and bigger cocktail parties and the table is key to both. The dinning room opens out onto a deck and a backyard area. Referring to wine in the quote would be appropriate. The quote is going to be in a circle on the ceiling around the light fixture so we need something less than a whole paragraph but more than a few words.
posted by deanj to Writing & Language (24 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
There are some good options here, which I found with a google search. I would recommend considering several shortish quotes together. It might make it more interesting.

Cool idea.
posted by JMOZ at 6:56 PM on May 6, 2006

Wine is bottled poetry.
-Robert Louis Stevenson

Here's to Eternity.
May we spend it in
as good of company
as this night finds us.
- Unknown

When wine enlivens the heart
May friendship surround the table.
— Unknown

It is around the table that friends understand best, the warmth of being together.

A day for toil, an hour for sport,
But for a friend life is too short.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
posted by Ostara at 6:58 PM on May 6, 2006

Best answer: Before a meal at my son's Montessori school (and now at my house) they say a blessing:

Thank you for green grass under me
for blue skys over me
for good friends beside me
for good food in front of me
and peace all over the world

very moving when recited by 30 three-to-six year olds who mean every word.
posted by Scoo at 6:59 PM on May 6, 2006

Looking through- a couple of (in my mind) prime candidates-

"Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are." Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

"Bear in mind that you should conduct yourself in life as at a feast."

"Food is an important part of a balanced diet."
Fran Lebowitz

"There is no love sincerer than the love of food."
George Bernard Shaw

"Food is our common ground, a universal experience."
James Beard

"The art of dining well is no slight art, the pleasure not a slight pleasure."
Michel de Montaigne

"Never eat more than you can lift."
Miss Piggy (massive bonus points if combined with more serious quotations)
posted by JMOZ at 7:02 PM on May 6, 2006

How about this one:

There be three gentle and goodlie things,
To be here,
To be together,
And to think well of one another.

posted by orange swan at 7:16 PM on May 6, 2006

The following James Taylor quote was painted on the wall of a house I used to dine at. Unfortunately it's not food-related.

"Winter, spring, summer and fall
All you have to do is call."
posted by A dead Quaker at 7:25 PM on May 6, 2006

I think Epicurus is your friend (he's definitely mine). When I think of the beauty of life, it's the simple things that bring me most pleasure - food, eating and friends rate significantly.

It would be more meaningful for you to establish a relationship with the philosophy prior to simply writing some ancient Greek on your ceiling, but I am sure that you will find some kind of warmth affirming quote if you read up on it a bit:

Epicurus' philosophy is based on the theory that all good and bad derive from sensation: Pleasureable sensations are good, painful sensations bad.

Although Epicurus believed in pursuing pleasure, he was by no means a hedonist in our modern sense of the word. He explicitly warned against overindulgence because it often leads to pain. For instance, in what might be described as a "hangover" theory, Epicurus warned against pursuing love too ardently, as it often leads to pain. However, having a circle of friends you can trust is one of the most important means for securing a tranquil life.

Epicurus also believed (in contradistinction to Aristotle) that death was not to be feared. According to Epicurus, unpleasant sensations cannot exist without pain. When man is alive, he does not feel the pain of death because he is not experiencing death. When a man dies, he does not feel the pain of death because he is dead and, since death is annihilation, he feels nothing. Therefore, as Epicurus famously said, "death is nothing to us."

In contrast to the Stoics, Epicureans showed little interest in participating in the politics of the day, since doing so leads to trouble. He instead advocated seclusion. His garden can be compared to present-day communes.

The most well-known Epicurean verse, which epitomizes his philosophy, is lathe biōsas λάθε βιώσας (Plutarchus De latenter vivendo 1128c; Flavius Philostratus Vita Apollonii 8.28.12), meaning "live secretly", "get through life without drawing attention to yourself", i. e. live without pursuing glory or wealth or power, but anonymously, enjoying little things like food, the company of friends, etc. (via)

"Not what we have But what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance."

posted by strawberryviagra at 7:36 PM on May 6, 2006

Spotted at a pub in Glencolumbkille, Ireland (Co. Donegal, I think--it was 10 years ago):

"Hunger is the strongest spice."

It would look beautiful over a dinner table.
posted by onetreehill at 7:55 PM on May 6, 2006

I don't have a quote for you but I recently saw a web site for a company that let you type in words and give a dimension and they would custom print vinyl stickers of the words to fit the space in any color you want.

A lot easier to replace if you change your mind about the quote in the future. Unfortunately, I forget the co. name but it had graffiti in it and had a Flash interface for punching in the quote and seeing it rendered in different fonts.
posted by dobbs at 8:16 PM on May 6, 2006

"Enjoy yourself: it's later than you think." (Chinese proverb/Guy Lombardo)
posted by rob511 at 9:44 PM on May 6, 2006

For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

You don't win friends with salad. ~ Homer Simpson

Welcome to the Church of the Holy Cabbage. Lettuce pray. ~Author Unknown

We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink... ~Epicurus

All sorrows are less with bread. ~Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. ~Harriet van Horne

We dare not trust our wit for making our house pleasant to our friend, so we buy ice cream. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is only one difference between a long life and a good dinner: that, in the dinner, the sweets come last. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Lovely idea...enjoy!
posted by jeanmari at 9:49 PM on May 6, 2006

Best answer: There is a communion of more than bodies when bread is broken and wine is drunk. (MFK Fisher)

Eat your bread with joy; Drink your wine with a merry heart. (Ecclesiastes 9:7)

For food that stays our hunger, for rest that gives us ease, for homes where memories linger, we give our thanks for these. (traditional English blessing)

Soup and fish explain half the emotions in life. (Sydney Smith)

A table is not blessed if it has fed no scholars. (Yiddish proverb)

Grub first, then ethics. (Bertolt Brecht)

May the love that is in my heart pass from my hand to yours. (traditional American grace)

Round the table peace and joy prevail; may all who share in this season's delight enjoy countless more. (traditional Chinese blessing)

By the way, I pulled many of these from Saying Grace: Blessings for the Family Table, which may prove useful to you if you care to check it out. I also agree that you can't go wrong with Epicurus, and Brillat-Savarin for good measure. (I also agree it's a lovely idea!)
posted by melissa may at 11:30 PM on May 6, 2006

Good bread,
good meat!
Let's talk,
drink and eat!

posted by paulsc at 12:14 AM on May 7, 2006

My whole life growing up, there was a real, honest-to-goodness footprint on the ceiling of my big brother's room. It wasn't a painted facsimile. It was a real footprint. My bro and some friends one night stacked up every bit of furniture in the room and one of them (Butch Mueller) laid on his back and pressed his inked foot to the ceiling. It remained there for about 30-something years, till the ceiling finally got repainted. That footprint was a source of joy and wonderment to everyone who ever saw it. I say go with a footprint.
posted by wsg at 1:22 AM on May 7, 2006

I think this may be the site dobbs means -- just pick your quotes, and they send you awesome vinyl stencils to fit the size/shape you need. I've used them for a number of projects and all have turned out superbly.

They also have a whole page of suggested kitchen/food quotes to get you started.
posted by picopebbles at 5:43 AM on May 7, 2006

Argh! no. Not the site dobbs means at all. But still highly recommended. :)
posted by picopebbles at 5:44 AM on May 7, 2006

"Make merry over wine. Three cups, and already the walls of sadness are overthrown."
Chin P'ing Mei (16th-century Chinese novel; you'll want to omit the following lines: "Alas, no sooner are we sober than sadness walls us in again.")

"Come, bring hither quick a flagon of wine, that I may soak my brain and get an ingenious idea."
—Aristophanes, The Knights
posted by languagehat at 6:36 AM on May 7, 2006

This might be the site dobbs remembers. . . they have some suggestions, too, but will also do custom work.
posted by katie at 6:41 AM on May 7, 2006

Okay, this is the site I was thinking of.

Also, I don't know when that Lombardo album came out, but "it's later than you think" is a line from the '57 movie The Sweet Smell of Success, which was written by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman and based on a story by Lehman.
posted by dobbs at 7:43 AM on May 7, 2006

No farting aloud.

posted by found missing at 9:44 AM on May 7, 2006

"Food is our common ground, a universal experience."
--James Beard

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside."
--Mark Twain

"My favorite animal is steak."
--Fran Lebowitz

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2000 of something."
--Mitch Hedberg

"The art of dining well is no slight art, the pleasure not a slight pleasure."
--Michel de Montaigne

"One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating."
--Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story

"There is no love sincerer than the love of food."
--George Bernard Shaw
posted by cerebus19 at 11:18 AM on May 7, 2006

Plenty and Grace, be to This Place and for All who gather Here.
posted by sgobbare at 1:54 PM on May 7, 2006

One of my favorites:

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.

-Virginia Woolf
posted by Lycaste at 6:33 PM on May 7, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone for all of the great quotes, links, and general interest. We haven't selected the one yet but I did tag melissa may and scoo's posts. I still tear up at the "green grass under me" quote.

Since we're having our painter do it I suspect it'll be a bit more ornate than we could get with the customized stickers. Though, there's so many great suggestions and possibilities that I suspect we're going to end up with several quotations around the house and we may do stickers for the later ones.
posted by deanj at 10:45 AM on May 16, 2006

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