IACP Award! Margaret Visser, author of the much admired Much Depends on Dinner, now turns her acute eye and irrepressible wit from the foods we eat to the way in which we eat them. Rituals of Dinner explores our marvelously revealing, colorful, and complex world at table, illuminating it with examples from the ancient Greeks to modern yuppies, cannibalism and the Eucharist, formal dinners to picnics, and from the sublime to the ridiculous--depending on where you sit.
Rituals of Dinner explores every aspect of our eating rituals--how we invite and seat people, how (and how much) we serve them and what we eat with, to how the guests depart. Forks, which took eight hundred years to become common utensils beside the plate (which itself began as a four day old slice of bread), provide a fascinating example of the evolution of social propriety.
When we eat together, we bring our culture with us, with all the possibilities for pleasure and danger that implies. Throughout our history, table manners have been one way of keeping the peace, of domesticating some of the wilder aspects of human behavior. In showing us why we act as we do, Margaret Visser provides a history of how we handle that mightiest of necessities and most potent of symbols, a medium through which we express goodwill, animosity, and our sense of place in history.