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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Meals are what this Companion accompanies. Food is a component. Commensality, eating together—and even when dining alone, as M. F. K. Fisher cogently observed, there may often be a (self) reflective companion—is the heart of it.

Philosophers from Epicurus to brillat-Savarin, anthropologists from Claude Lévi-Strauss (1978) to Mary Douglas (1982), and writers of cookery books in every century have viewed the meal as the point of it all. But eating does not necessarily constitute a meal, otherwise how would our children make sense of the prohibition on eating between meals?