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World Philosophy Day happens later this week, which makes it a good time to be asking what constitutes good behaviour in a host and, equally, in a guest. I’m prompted by a recent article that took the rise in food allergies and intolerances as a starting point to ask how a host should act when faced with a guest whose professed allergies seem a tad suspect. Is it OK to ignore guest requests as snowflake signifiers? What should guests do when faced with intolerable food that they failed to inform their host about? In a perfect world, hosts and guests would accommodate one another’s needs; the world, however, is not perfect.
- Megan A. Dean’s article The “Worst Dinner Guest Ever”: On “Gut Issues” and Epistemic Injustice at the Dinner Table appeared in Gastronomica 2022.
- The books Megan Dean mentioned were Elizabeth Telfer’s Food for Thought and Karen Stohr’s On Manners.
- Matthew Smith has an article in the same volume and has written about the rise in food allergies.
- There is, of course, a countervailing view to all this mutual respect of hosts and guests, the idea of dinner party as revenge. For an entertaining take on that, I recommend you start with Jesse Browner’s Shark Bait, also in Gastronomica.
- Here is the transcript.