It can no longer be said that we are just what we eat. In the contested sphere of gastronomy divided between the golden arches of McDonalds and the prized stars of Michelin where personal identity is expressed through a frenetic quest for socially-approved tastes and distinctions, where, when, how and with whom we eat has become just as fundamental in defining who we are. In this follow-on to her classic 1989 work Dining Out: A Sociology of Modern Manners, Joanne Finkelstein takes a fragment of social life, dining out in restaurants, and uses it to examine the nature and meaning of manners and social relations in the modern world. In Fashioning Appetite, the restaurant becomes a liminal space in which public and privte boundaries are constantly renegotiated, in which our personal celebrations and seductions are conducted within full view of the next table, and where eating alone has become a perilous social minefield. When food is fetishized ad identity becomes a capitalist commodity, the experience of the restaurant transforms appetite into both a pleasure and a torment where being satisfied with one's meal is also about being satisfied with oneself.
Applying new research in emotional capitalism to popular culture's pervasive images of conspicuous consumption, Finkelstein builds a cultural portrait in which every forfkful is weighted with meaning.