Table Manners

Table Manners

Sunday, January 29, 2006
| 1 Corinthians 8:1-13

The Brits — back in the 1600s — thought corn was pig slop. But in New England, the pilgrims developed a taste for it.

They were hungry, so they ripped meat off the bone with their dirty hands and shoved it in their mouths. Food scraps were scattered across the table. No forks, spoons or individual cups. Cider pots were passed across the table to the person who wanted a drink.

Sounds like a typical dinner when Mom is out of town.

Actually, it’s a description of how people ate in the year 1650. It comes from a book called A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America, by historian James McWilliams. In addition to describing such lovely colonial meals, the book explains how choices about food shaped cultural and political identities back in the earliest days of our country.

You’ve heard the expression, “You are what you eat.” Well, this idea applies to entire countries as well as to individual citizens. Decisions about which crops to grow and what food to eat had an impact on regional identities in colonial times. It also fueled the desire to secede from...

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