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    The Renaissance Banquet and Table Manners

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    The Renaissance: who, when, what it means and why
    Who? The Europeans (Northern Italy up to Rome)
    When? 14th century – 16th century
    What does it mean? The rebirth of art and practices
    Why? Feudalism had less of a grip, it was a power vacuum between the 2 lords: the pope and the German emperor, made it easier to do business, and the presence of antiquity
    Who were Iconic figures of the Renaissance?
    Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Brunelleschi
    What is the idological concept behind the Renaissance?
    It puts a negative concept to the medieval ages (called the dark ages and the Renaissance was supposed to revive everything but were the medieval ages so bad?)
    The Renaissance is the rebirth of the Classical Age but that diminishes the period between the Classical age and the Renaissance which is the Dark Age
    What is the culinary renaissance inspired by?
    Classical food culture, Arab influences and inventiveness of Renaissance chefs
    What is a renaissance banquet versus just a meal?
    There were benches and long tables, a lavish display of food and there was an importance of formality
    How was the meal an art form?
    There was food to admire, choreography to admire and people to admire (fashion and table manors)
    Norbert Ellis’ Theory on Table Manners
    They are important because the table is a place for social interactions by the 16th century, it also was a civilizing process (the transformation of human behavior), “Don’t eat like a pig” (animal vs. human),
    What did Author, Erasmus of Rotterdam think of table manners?
    That they can be learned and should be learned because they are for moral bettering
    What did Baldassare Castiglione think of table manners?
    His book was for the upper class only – manners cannot be learned they are inherited and require Sprezzatura
    What is Sprezzatura, today and back then?
    It is “effortless effort”, to be anxious but play it off as laid back, it started w table manners and now it is emerging in the middle class.

    Today Italians look it as a concept of “Bella Figura” which is ALWAYS presenting themselves at their best and repressing their true emotions

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