The Rituals of Dinner

By Margaret Visser,

Book cover of The Rituals of Dinner: The Origins, Evolution, Eccentricities, and Meaning of Table Manners

Book description

With an acute eye and an irrepressible wit, Margaret Visser takes a fascinating look at the way we eat our meals. From the ancient Greeks to modern yuppies, from cannibalism and the taking of the Eucharist to formal dinners and picnics, she thoroughly defines the eating ritual.

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Rituals of Dinner as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

The Rituals of Dinner opened my eyes to the power and complexity of eating with other people – something we all do throughout our lives – and the profound ways in which this affects our relationships with friends and strangers alike.

The book delves into the history of the shared meal, dissecting various rituals which, despite regional differences, nevertheless have common threads across the world, for example in the deep, often hidden power that lies in the relationship between host and guest (words that both derive from the same root, ghostis) and the strong, even life-changing implications of knowing…

From Carolyn's list on how food shapes our lives.

Manners can be a dull topic when merely outlined in a reference book of rules (hold your fork this way, pass the salt like so, etc…), but when woven into historical and cultural context, as Visser does here, all these hows and whys suddenly come to life. Visser covers everything from spitting to sitting, from banquets to burgers. 

From Laura's list on making and running a welcoming home.

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