We have all heard the saying “Eat to live, don’t live to eat.” So the answer to the question asked above should theoretically be, “Food is what I use to nourish me and give me energy in order to live a productive life.”
I don’t know about that. If that is true, why did G-d make food so enjoyable? Why is food one of the most enjoyable things we experience?
I do believe that the bottom line of food is to “eat to live”. I also think that he who “lives to eat” should reconsider the meaning in his life. But it seems to me, just like most things in life, that there is the “shvil hazahav” (the golden path). The middle path. That means, in my opinion, that you should be eating in order to nourish yourself but by all means, enjoy!
This perfect way of experiencing your food, would mean eating only what you need, how much you need, and enjoying that food.
My experience has been that if any of us ever had that shvil hazahav (we probably did when we were young children), we lost it.
Think about it. If at one meal you eat too much because you are enjoying the food so much, you have the bad feeling afterwards (psychologically and physically). But if you didn’t eat too much, how much more enjoyable is the experience?!
And, of course, how much more holy an experience is that?