the choreography of preparing and sharing a meal.
first reading – The Sociology of Taste – Jukka Grownow
The historical development of the meal is described by Simmel as a kind of a civilizing process. The social form and the rules of interaction are first transformed into more complicated ones among the higher echelons of society where this can take place to such a degree that the original purpose of the meal, the satisfaction of hunger, can almost totally be forgotten.
The sociability of eating presumes social rules. The necessity of such rules, or at least of a certain regularity of action, follows directly from the chronological regularity of eating but it is greatly increased by the socialization of the meal:
‘With all such changes a formal norm is raised above the changing individual needs, the socialization of the meal elevates it into aesthetic stylization, which in its turn influences back on it; because if, besides the purpose of satisfying needs, eating has to serve also the purpose of aesthetic satisfaction, an excuse is needed and a community of several persons is not only able to take better care of such an excuse, but it also acts much better as its legitimate carrier and performer. (Simmel 1910)