This chapter explores cultural tendencies to create rituals surrounding food, and how these rituals help shape and perhaps even secure an individual's place within their community and culture. The barbecue, for instance, while tempered under the civilizing force of fire, is reminiscent of a hunting ritual—of celebrating the kill. Additionally, it is an ostensibly masculine practice, and more popularly attributed to a red-blooded American ideal. Rituals of communal dining also have this same effect to varying degrees, such as the different ways families can celebrate Christmas dinners or adjust their diet for the Lenten season. Even the rituals one takes for granted—taking breakfast or taking a snack—are indicative of cultural values and norms shaped over the centuries. And even in a fast-paced, modern world, the habit of dining and communing with fellow human beings similarly adapts according to the technological advances available.
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