Have you ever wondered why you feel so embarrassed when you spill a glass of wine or dribble food down your chin while dining out in public? The shame that accompanies those feelings stems back to the beginning of mankind itself, and how he began to socialize. Table manners evolved from civilized protocols and were meant for people to relax and to enjoy the company of those they chose to be with. “Breaking bread” with friends is the common bond that unites us, lifting our spirits and continually assuring us that we are not alone.
Knife, Fork and Spoon: The History of Table Manners explores the culinary protocol of our earliest ancestors including cannibalism--how they portioned out meat and the rules and regulations that governed their society and behavior, an examination of the old system of dining--a la Françoise, Erasmus’ treatise on manners, which he wrote in 1530, Ptah-Hotep’s “Instructions,” written for his son that date to about 200 B.C., and finally Emily Post and the influence her book, “Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home,” published in 1922, had on 20th century society.