Catering for your audience: the comic mageiros and the personalized dining experience

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


In this chapter, I examine a stock comic figure, the chef, who often claims to adapt the dishes he serves based on the identity of the individuals at the dinner. My aim is not only to demonstrate what kinds of factors the chefs might take into consideration, but also to show what role such claims have in the discourse of gustatory pleasure in the Greek world. While some say that a chef should adapt the meal to the attendees, other writers insist that there is an objectively best way to serve each dish. By examining these two claims we see that the best way to enjoy a meal can be defined by a speaker in a given context to suit their own rhetorical ends. I argue that these claims serve primarily to highlight the importance of the mageiros himself by legimitizing the art of cooking as a form of expertise. Rather than producing consensus, comic mageiroi are part of an active and ongoing debate about the relationship between food and pleasure.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMesa dos Sentidos & Sentidos da Mesa
EditorsCarmen Soares, Anny Torres Silveira, Bruno Laurioux
Place of PublicationCoimbra
PublisherUniversity of Coimbra, Portugal
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)978-989-26-2059-6
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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