A History of Grand Eating
By Roy Strong
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780151007585, 368pp.)
Publication Date: November 2003
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Sharing a grand meal has always been a complex social event. Feasts have been used to celebrate significant occasions, to parade rank and hierarchy, and to flatter and influence people. There has always been a theatrical element to the feast as well-from the nude dancers who entertained dinner guests in ancient Greece to the restrained rigors of the Victorian dinner party.
Sir Roy Strong examines this cultural phenomenon with knowledge, wit, and style-beginning with the ninth century B.C., when a Babylonian emperor discreetly invited seventy thousand guests for a ten-day celebration, and ending early in the twentieth century, by which time feasts had become somewhat more modest. Always attuned to how these celebrations mirror the societies that hold them and to the way they reflect shifts in power and class, this beautifully illustrated book offers a lively and illuminating history of grand eating.
Sir Roy Strong is a highly regarded historian, columnist, critic, and broadcaster. He is the author of many books, including The Story of Britain and The Spirit of Britain, and is a regular contributor to radio and television. He lives in Herefordshire, England.
U. K. PRAISE FOR FEAST
"One of Britain's Living National Treasures . . . Strong is an acute observer of social nuance, and never less than a congenial companion through these millennia of convivial excess. Only the puritan-or the seriously dyspeptic-could fail to enjoy this book." -The Independent
"Strong has dug up these gems from what must have been a blizzard of documents and books, but his clear, scholarly eye has focused on the telling detail rather than showy frippery." -The Daily Telegraph