Food Studies: Re-Evolving Table Manners Food Studies: Re-Evolving Table Manners
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Food Studies: Re-Evolving Table Manners

by Leslie Marticke

March 19, 2011

In the classical worlds of the Greeks and Romans, the banquet symbolized the importance of belonging, the formation of identity, and a place for social exchange, while also establishing hierarchy among members of a particular group. The simple act of sharing a meal became known as conviviality and was imagined as the "cornerstone of civilization." During these celebrations, eating was more than an act of physical necessity, it was a way to enhance social relationships and build community.

It should come as no surprise that a counter-culture movement has emerged to offset the effects of an over-industrialized society. But what effect does the Slow Food movement have on people's daily lives in regions with active chapters? Does it instill a sense of community? Does it foster a deep connection to place and to producer? Does it promote various opportunities for education and new ways of looking at the world? Or is it the simple act of eating that unites us all despite our race, sex, religion, culture, background that creates the most sincere attraction?

As I continue my research, I want to ask you for help. If you are involved with a Slow Food chapter, or have participated in one or many Slow Food sponsored events, please share your insights with me (leslie[dot]marticke[at]gmail[dot]com). I look forward to hearing from you!

To be continued... Leslie is a student blogger for the Food Studies feature on GOOD's Food hub. If you enjoyed this, you should check out the rest of the Food Studies blogger gang here.

All photos, showing dining tables and eating customs around the world, are by the author.

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Food Studies: Re-Evolving Table Manners