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Revenge is a dish best served cold!

Updated on January 12, 2014


After listening to two co-workers fight, one clearly threatening the other I started thinking about revenge. I wondered where the concept of getting back comes from. My first thought went back to Sunday school where we are taught in the bible "an eye for an eye," someone hurts you, you hurt them back equally. The bible also says "turn the other cheek." I do believe that some people let things go and walk away but not enough people. More people look for revenge when someone hurts them. I often believe that the payback is much worse then the original crime. I have seen more situations where the retaliation is much worse then the original act. Think back on your life, how many times have you seen or dished out a stronger punishment? I know I have.

If you type in revenge in a Google search there are 61,300,000 items on the topic. Everything from TV shows, pranks (farting, shaving cream) and wars of ancient times. Our need for revenge is timeless.

In the Article "Complicated psychology of Revenge" by Eric Jaffe. Mr. Jaffee mentioned that Swiss researchers have demonstrated that the thought of revenge activates the same area of the brain that process rewards or delight. Our brains basically process revenge as a good thing. Revenge has also been the motivation of 1 out of 5 murders.

As my co-workers continue their argument, one says "Revenge is a dish best served cold." Seriously what the hell does that mean? I understand the best revenge is to look good, I understand the best revenge is to get rich, but revenge is a dish best served cold, I just do not get it.

Is revenge a dish that could be hot? How is it a dish to begin with? Revenge, eye for an eye, tit for tat, even the score, fix your wagon, get back at, get even, give just desserts, pay back, get you back in spades, repay, settle the score, stick it to you, and turn the tables on, all pretty much mean the same thing. Maybe the cold dish ties into the just desserts?

Digging a little deeper to get the meaning of DISH BEST SERVED COLD, I discovered that the meaning of cold may in fact refer to cold blooded violence. A little harsh I would say for a coworker who thought they were wronged. I can see that, NOT, but hell most people I know these days are a tad dramatic.

To further expand on the meaning it appears that this saying originates from Sicily and means the best way to get back at someone is to take your time, plan it out and cause tremendous pain to your enemy when you hit them unexpectedly. The planning has to ensure that you will not get arrested or get retaliation from their friends, family or associates. What did this co- worker do to you that you are planning unexpected revenge? Did he steal your staple remover? Are you now going to poke his eye out with the letter opener?

Another source says it originated in a French book around 1842.

Don Corleone in the movie the "God Father" also said "Revenge is a dish that tastes best when it is cold," I am starting to think there was a "God Father" marathon on and the co-worker who made the threat was feeling like their family was disrespected by the stapler theft perhaps.

Many cultures have a version of the saying revenge is a dish best served cold which makes it difficult to determine its original origins.

I guess when the day is done, it does not matter where the saying originated. Taking time to plan your revenge will give your enemy time to worry, wonder and build fear. Even if you are not going to inflict bloody revenge, making people wonder what you will do is always a lot of fun. I have had relationships end, where I went silent, my ex's spent a lot of time wondering what was going on, if I was going to do something. I learned along time ago, that I can get better revenge by letting their own imagination run away with them. I could never be as creative as the stuff that they would create in their own mind.

So the next time someone does you wrong and you want to get revenge, remember the best revenge is to be quiet and let their imagination run wild. What they imagine will be happening is far worse punishment then anything you can dish out, cold or hot!


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    • Justice12 profile image

      Cheryl Gianfrancesco 3 years ago from New York

      Thats great, i will read the count of monte cristo!!

    • profile image

      Matt 5 years ago

      What? No! When someone says that revenge is a dish best server cold, it means that you should wait until they're no longer expecting it to get it. For instance, read the Count of Monte Cristo. He spends decades planning his revenge for people who imprisoned him wrongly. He gets rich and befriends them. Then he exacts his revenge.