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.
Kate Colquhoun reviews Feast: Why Humans Share Food by Martin Jones in the 27 March issue of the Telegraph.
I want to know if Jones touches on when we decided it was rude to put our elbows on the table. I'm increasingly struck by how this taboo limits engagement when you're sharing a meal with someone; pulling you back and away from the place of exchange and engagement; calming your body language, hands in your lap, so that animation is stilled, the body is made passive, and conversations evolve in much different directions than they might have otherwise.
I have elected to break this taboo repeatedly, and without compunction. Particularly after the last plate has been cleared and there is still some wine left to drink.