This essay explores the psychological calculations behind our judgments that a restaurant meal was either ““worth it”” or ““not worth it.”” It inquires into the way we try to place a cash value on essential ephemeral sensations and experiences, such as those supplied by fancy restaurants. More abstractly, this essay asks why we tend to rely on such abstract standards of judgment, and deploy the language of ““worth”” for sensations that lie outside the bounds of economic calculation. Without becoming critical of our use of such language, it asks why we continue to use modes of expression that cannot help but fail to capture the full dimensions of our gastronomic experiences.

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