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Eating TogetherFood, Friendship, and Inequality$
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Alice P. Julier

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037634

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037634.001.0001

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Dinner Parties in America

Dinner Parties in America

(p.54) 3. Dinner Parties in America
Eating Together

Alice P. Julier

University of Illinois Press

This chapter uses stories from both formal and informal interviews to travel from those who dutifully adhere to the cultural template of dinner parties to those who deliberately alter some important aspects while still insisting that what is occurring can be considered a dinner party. The first stories are about “traditional” dinner parties where women in heterosexual marriages perform interactional and physical labor to ensure the social networks of their family. It then examines a dinner party that is potentially a burlesque of normative ideas about dinner parties and who holds them. Questioning whether the gender of the cook is the most salient factor in the performance of a dinner party, it analyzes the narratives of men who cook on weekends. The chapter ends by raising questions about the boundaries of dinner parties, focusing on the experiences of a lesbian couple who incorporate real and fictive kin into dinner parties and other events.

Keywords:   dinner party, social meals, social life, hostess, gender, cooks, heterosexual couples, lesbian couples

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