In the West, because of the popularity of Chinese restaurants, we have some idea (to a greater or lesser degree authentic) of the sorts of food to be found in China, and many people have mastered (to a greater or lesser degree) the use of chopsticks. But the experience of eating at even the least Americanized Chinese restaurant scarcely resembles the experience of sharing an everyday family meal. Eating at a restaurant, both in the States and in China, has more in common with attending a banquet, which involves deliberate reversals and amplifications of everyday Chinese customs and habits.

 

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