- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 2670.0 KB
- Print Length: 171 pages
- Publisher: Tanya Kosh (14 Oct. 2016)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01M7PZ2TB
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #432,217 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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|Print List Price:||£14.75|
Save £8.84 (60%)
Are You in or Are You Out? Inclusivity and Exclusivity of Table Manners: A light-hearted journey into a rather serious matter (How to Eat: All around Table Manners Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This book is much more a reflection on the philosophy behind what we do at table rather than an international tour guide. I don't think I would be far off to describe it as auto ethnography, in that the author largely speaks from her own experiences as an extremely well-traveled professional. In addition, there are anecdotal treasures found in the author’s interviews and discussions with others. For those of us who love stories, this approach adds to the pleasure of the read. The line from Crow and Weasel, a children’s book, always reminds me, “Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.”
On the other hand, coming from a working-class immigrant family to the USA, I have had a lot of contradictory etiquette to sort out. I also have many sins to confess and repent of. Perhaps the most egregious and precocious of these was, as a four-year-old, gobbling all the maraschino cherries topping grapefruit halves on an elegantly set table, while my parents and their hosts chatted in the parlor.
The roots and variations of table manners (even if we eat sitting on the floor), like many sacred dogmas, are often rooted in practicality and survival. Whatever our kosher or halal, or our behavior consuming it, it is likely to find its roots buried in the safety, security, and community concerns of our cultural group ancestors, if not explicitly exposed, as in the present day abundance of contemporary “food religions”. These root considerations sprout into spiritual, ethnic, national, class, and myriad other distinctions, and may be critical in contexts of business and diplomacy. In interculturalist terms, it is important to recognize that table manners are part of one’s own identity discourse and an identity marker for others, while yet, in the age of globalization, the frontiers are increasingly porous.
Kosh’s book, though it cannot precise your behavior, helps you stay you alert and keep your head about you, a useful passport when crossing alimentary frontiers. In closing, one point that stuck out for me was the author’s clear emphasis on the fact that you can’t eat and digest well or at all when you are afraid. Knowing good manners reduces that fear, as does the kind whispered advice of a cultural informant sitting next to us in an unfamiliar dining context. It is not only important to act correctly in the situation, but also to quell the gastro-intestinal butterflies by knowing that we are doing it right and helping fellow diners to that same comfort. Bon apetit!