The devil cares not whether we are gluttons or health food freaks so long as we become slaves to our passions. The particular woman in letter 17 does not over eat; to the contrary, she is very picky and hard to please. She has the “All-I-want state of mind. When the waiter brings her entrée, she protest, “Oh that is far too much, you must take it back, all I want is this or that”. It does not trouble her that she is a pain in the neck to the waiter. She represents those who are never happy and never satisfied with what they get. No only do they complain about the food, whether it be portions or preparation, they manage to insult the waiter or waitress before the night is over. These people don’t lose their temper or rant and rave: that would make their selfishness far too obvious–they prefer the subtle complaint. Selfishness is selfishness and the devil could care less if she over eats or is over bearing–either one suits his purpose. Truth be known, this dreadful beast would have something critical to say about every person in the restaurant that is over weight.
Screwtape says that males are best turned into gluttons with the help of their vanity. What begins as vanity turns to habit and it takes only one habit for Satan to enslave. The devil is not particular about our indulgence: it could be gluttony, lust, liquor, tobacco, TV, sports, body building, exercise or a thousand different things. If he hooks you on one habit that evolves into an obsession; he has you fully occupied and under his control in a subtle way of course. Hey, he didn’t get his name and reputation by being up front or honest.