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At the table

叶霖耘Lerra Ye 2017-09-25 13:01

In Shanghai, do you know how much can be the per capita consumption of a dinner with a specific price tag? Excluding some senior private clubs with very low attendance, I can tell you, the per capita consumption can be RMB 8888.

However, such an expensive meal is still very hard to get. If you don't make a reservation one month ahead of schedule, you won't even have a chance to know the address of the dinner.  About this, there are various comments from the society, but among them there is one kind of voice that attracts my attention. The voice says that the intention of those people who are willing to pay such a high price for a meal is not just for eating. When the light show, holographic projection and immersive theater experience are all integrated into the delicacy feast, it is the time for us to think over that what other stories are worth attention in addition to the food itself in this wave of the revolution on the table. 


A Table of Plays

Let’s regard the table as a stage. The black and yellow colors are symbolizing the notion of sub consciousness and free association. Those bold flowers and decorations compete to be the main character in the stage. The mirror faces of the vessel, when facing the blurred boundaries of the real and the illusion, seem to imply the jumping surreal signals of Ritter. This is a table art show made last year by Mao Creations in the title of ‘What You See Is Really What You See?"


In this show, gorgeous, complex and these dazzling lights may be the first impression of the viewer, but when you are immersed in this unusual table set, a different world will come into sight. “The dining table is a lively stage play", Mao said, “ A spoon and a vase may all have their own stories.” According to table aesthetics, she gives food, flowers, or utensils vivid roles so as to poetically imply what they mean in the life in metaphor. For example, The Magic Flutenarrates the life of the Queen of Night in which she lost herself in the contradictions; the book The Spiritual Wastelandreflects on the gradual decadence of human being’s mind after the great progress of science and technology. Mao's absurd chimera and meticulous observation may be a bit too much for many people. But she didn’t say anything about it. She just said, “Life needs some feeling of ceremony. The taste, shape and the plating are important, but what we're going after is not just the food itself, but also the new ways to enjoy food and a better way to get along with our friends and life.” For her, eating has already evolved into an medium.


A Table of Courtesy

The feast of vision is often used to satisfy us, while etiquette is aimed at restraining ourselves. But in a pleasant dinner, the two are inseparable from each other.


Charles McPherson, a senior butler who has served the most prominent family in Canada, once explained to me his interpretation of the display of the dining table in a class of table manners which was jointly organized by The English Manner in August. He said, “Speaking of etiquette, setting the table is not to focus on the table. The purpose of the way you put the knife and the fork is for the convenience of eating and to make it easy for people to eat the meal, so that they can appreciate the food as well as relax and enjoy the whole of the conversation with the people at the table.” And the natural performance of table manners is also recognized as a manifestation of superior upbringing. Morgan Lautherie, who is a trainer specializing in table manners in CMA, was exactly the trainer of that class. This tall, courteous French gentleman emphasized that even during eating, some small details may also determine what other people think of you, and then he or she will decide whether to have a further contact or cooperate with you. For instance, are you greeting the guests in a proper way? Is the tablecloth flat on the chair when you leave? And are the forks and the knives put in the correct way to avoid meals being taken away? Lautherie argues, even if we are not in a social situation, we still need to make sure that we behave well - because the accidents may occur at any time. Maybe the stranger to whom you have no intention of offending is your future partner. Or, your future girlfriend or even the father-in-law is also having dinner in the next table. No one knows what will happen.


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