Tuesdays with Morrie

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Food Symbol Analysis

Food Symbol Icon

Morrie absolutely loves to eat. Besides being necessary for life in a basic sense, Morrie sees food as a means of connecting and fostering relationships, and therefore essential in developing and maintaining his personal culture. After his first visit with Morrie, Mitch remembers Morrie's affinity for food and begins to bring him things from his favorite deli in as an offering. This continues even after Morrie is no longer able to chew and swallow solid food, and becomes a more symbolic gesture of friendship and well-wishing. As Morrie's health declines and eating becomes more difficult, food begins to bring with it the potential for death – Morrie fears he will die by choking.

Food Quotes in Tuesdays with Morrie

The Tuesdays with Morrie quotes below all refer to the symbol of Food. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Teaching and Learning Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Broadway Books edition of Tuesdays with Morrie published in 2002.
The First Tuesday Quotes

I knew there was plenty of food at the house, but I wanted to contribute something. I was so powerless to help Morrie otherwise. And I remembered his fondness for eating.

Related Characters: Mitch Albom (speaker), Morrie Schwartz
Related Symbols: Food
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

Mitch has just arrived at Morrie's house bearing bags of deli food. Throughout the text, food and eating are developed first and foremost as a way in which Morrie builds community. Mitch remembers when he and Morrie would eat together in the Brandeis dining hall, and starts bringing food as an offering for the Tuesday visits.

Mitch recognizes the importance of food and eating to Morrie's personal culture. Eating for Morrie is not just a way to nourish his body; it's a way to build relationships and foster community. By bringing food, Mitch is essentially providing an easy way for him to connect with Morrie. The meal that will take place now that food has been procured will help Mitch and Morrie strengthen their relationship as Morrie teaches and Mitch begins to consider Morrie's lessons.

Food and the ensuing meal also allow the reader to see firsthand Morrie's declining mobility. Morrie's mobility is consistently discussed in terms of how and what he's eating, and this meal is no exception.

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The Sixth Tuesday Quotes

Charlotte glanced again at my food and I felt suddenly ashamed. All these reminders of things Morrie would never enjoy.

Related Characters: Mitch Albom (speaker), Morrie Schwartz, Charlotte
Related Symbols: Food
Page Number: 102
Explanation and Analysis:

Mitch has been bringing food from Morrie's favorite deli for the last several weeks, but on this week Charlotte was home when Mitch arrived. She shared with Mitch that most of the food he's brought is now too difficult for Morrie to eat.

Food is very important to Morrie, although the act of eating itself is possibly even more important than the food itself. Morrie uses the act of eating with people as a way to build community. Mitch mentions fond memories of eating with Morrie in the Brandeis dining hall, which is one of the ways in which the two developed their relationship while Mitch was a student. By bringing food for Morrie each week, Mitch was attempting to recreate that sense of happiness and connection he felt in college.

At this point, however, we see how far the disease has progressed. Morrie can no longer eat the food because chewing is difficult and choking is a real possibility. Thus, this moment is one in which food shifts from being a positive symbol of friendship to a more tragic one, as a reminder of death.

The Thirteenth Tuesday Quotes

Then I'd go for a walk, in a garden with some trees, watch their colors, watch the birds, take in the nature that I haven't seen in so long now.
In the evening, we'd all go together to a restaurant with some great pasta, maybe some duck—I love duck—and then we'd dance the rest of the night. I'd dance with all the wonderful dance partners out there, until I was exhausted.

Related Characters: Morrie Schwartz (speaker), Mitch Albom
Related Symbols: Food, The Natural World and Morrie's Hibiscus, Dance
Page Number: 176
Explanation and Analysis:

Morrie is describing his perfect day for Mitch. The fact that what Morrie describes is so ordinary is indicative of the way Morrie lives his life and practices his personal culture, as Morrie doesn't choose to do something flashy or ostentatious. Instead, he wants to do the most normal of things—swimming, spending time with friends, eating, and dancing. While Morrie's personal culture is focused primarily on finding joy in simple things and relationships, the fact that he would choose to spend his last perfect day in this way points to just how invested he is in this way of living.

This speech also is where we see all three positive symbols (dance, eating, and nature) combine, and see how they play into Morrie's culture. Nature is a way to move, slowly and with the purpose of admiring the beauty of the world. Eating is a way to build community and experience joy, as is dancing.

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Food Symbol Timeline in Tuesdays with Morrie

The timeline below shows where the symbol Food appears in Tuesdays with Morrie. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Audiovisual
Teaching and Learning Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Movement and Change Theme Icon
...for Nightline. By this point, Morrie is in a wheelchair, never to walk again, and eating is becoming more and more difficult. However, Morrie refuses to be upset, preferring instead to... (full context)
Teaching and Learning Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Movement and Change Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
For the interview, Morrie refuses makeup or nice clothes, as he believes that death shouldn't be embarrassing. He discusses how he tries to live now, with dignity, humor, and... (full context)
The Orientation
Teaching and Learning Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
They go inside and Morrie insists on feedingMitch. Morrie's nurse, Connie, brings them food and brings Morrie some pills. Morrie offers to tell... (full context)
Teaching and Learning Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
...tells Mitch that he will be Mitch's coach, and Mitch can be Morrie's player. Sometimes theyeat together in the school cafeteria, and Mitch delights in Morrie's sloppy eating habits. (full context)
The Classroom
Teaching and Learning Theme Icon
Movement and Change Theme Icon
...Morrie "Coach," and Morrie smiles at the memory. Mitch continues to watch Morrie struggle to eat, describing the trouble Morrie has using his silverware and swallowing. (full context)
The First Tuesday: We Talk About the World
Teaching and Learning Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Culture and Religion Theme Icon
Movement and Change Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Mitch arrives at Morrie's house with a variety of foods, and the two sit at Morrie's dining room table and eat. Conversation comes easier this... (full context)
The Second Tuesday: We Talk About Feeling Sorry for Yourself
Culture and Religion Theme Icon
Movement and Change Theme Icon
Mitch arrives at Morrie's house with bags of foodafter stopping on his drive from the airport at a market that Morrie likes. Morrie is... (full context)
The Third Tuesday: We Talk About Regrets
Teaching and Learning Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Mitch arrives at Morrie's house with his bags of food and a tape recorder. He tells Morrie that he wants to have Morrie’s voice recorded... (full context)
The Sixth Tuesday: We Talk About Emotions
Death Theme Icon
Movement and Change Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
...telling him that Morrie's having a hard day. When Mitch offers her the bags of food, she tells him that Morrie still hasn't eaten any from last time. She opens the... (full context)
Death Theme Icon
Movement and Change Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
...although Mitch says she handles it all with immense patience. Mitch helps her put the food in the fridge and takes note of all the pill bottles on their counter. Charlotte... (full context)
The Tenth Tuesday: We Talk About Marriage
Death Theme Icon
Movement and Change Theme Icon
Connie knocks on the office door to tell Morrie his lunch is ready. Morrie is now only capable of eating liquids and pureed foods. Mitch continues... (full context)
The Thirteenth Tuesday: We Talk About the Perfect Day
Teaching and Learning Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Culture and Religion Theme Icon
Movement and Change Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
...do his exercises, have a lovely breakfast, and then see friends in small groups for lunch. He'd then go for a walk and admire nature, and in the evening they'd go... (full context)
The Fourteenth Tuesday: We Say Good-Bye
Death Theme Icon
Movement and Change Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
...tells him that Morrie is still asleep. Mitch helps Charlotte tidy the kitchen, putting the food he brought into the fridge. Mitch apologizes for bringing the food, but tells the reader... (full context)
Graduation
Teaching and Learning Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Culture and Religion Theme Icon
Movement and Change Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
...the funeral. It's a damp and windy morning, and the sky is the color of milk. It's a small gathering, although hundreds of people wanted to attend. As Morrie's ashes are... (full context)
The Professor
Death Theme Icon
Movement and Change Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
...Morrie remembers his mother while they bury her. Until she got sick, she ran a candy store. After falling ill, she slept or sat by the window. When she yelled for... (full context)