Thursday, March 29, 2007

The archaeology of table manners
Sharing a meal, sometimes sitting face to face with strangers, is a curious act that sets humans apart from all other animals on the planet. So strange is this behaviour, yet so important to the development of society and communication, that plenty of scientists and philosophers have tried to decode the origins and history of the human meal.

Perhaps most famously, Claude Lévi-Strauss proclaimed that cooking marked the very origin of human cultural progress. More accessibly, Margaret Visser's bestselling Much Depends on Dinner introduced the complex anthropology of the modern meal to a broad audience.