All our lives we have heard the mantra: humans are a social animal. But what does that mean practically? It means we hunt and gather in groups, we live in groups, and we eat together. We work and play together. We help one another. We share. We concern ourselves with the less fortunate. We set standards and rules which are acceptable to the group, preferring group safety over whimsical notions of individualism.
So what happens when individuals become non-conformists, breakers of tradition? When does the novelty of individual exploration and challenge wear off? When does it become an annoying expression of self-indulgence to the friends? What is the tolerance within a society? And of course, a huge part of social structure is communal eating and drinking. And now even more, since social smoking is all but banished.
So, what happens to the dynamic when people do not share the same food? When does it become uncomfortable, or even intolerable, to demonstrate one’s dietary defiance? Who would have thought that “the diet” would have opened a pathway to a more profound understanding of one of the forces behind cultural segregation and assimilation?