In the Trobriand Islands (North East of New Guinea) there’s a tabu against eating with or in front of others, even family or friends. Anthropologists have failed to find a reason why.
We take it for granted that we marked special occasions by eating with others, often with special foods to mark the occasion. Think of births, deaths, weddings, arrivals, departures, engagements, birthdays, christenings, bar or bat mitzvahs, religious holidays. We eat with people we’re close to (family, friends), we eat with people we’d like to get close to (from romantic dinners to the business lunch).
So where to now? How do you keep in touch or forge new friendships? A coffee, breakfast, standing around at an art opening with a warm Chardonnay? Do we still share a table (both formal or informal)?