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Foodscapes

Food, Space, and Place in a Global Society

Edited By Carlnita P. Greene

Foodscapes explores the nexus of food, drink, space, and place, both locally and globally. Multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary in scope, scholars consider the manifold experiences that we have when engaging with food, drink, space, and place. They offer a wide array of theories, methods, and perspectives, which can be used as lenses for analyzing these interconnections, throughout each chapter. Scholars interrogate our practices and behaviors with food within spaces and places, analyze the meanings that we create about these entities, and demonstrate their wider cultural, political, social, economic, and material implications.

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4. Music to Our Mouths: Ambiance, Place, and Flavor in Modern Dining (Michael Pennell)

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4.  Music to Our Mouths: Ambiance, Place, and Flavor in Modern Dining

MICHAEL PENNELL

I hear noise the way a good chef tastes salt: too much is overbearing; too little can be stifling…With just the right noise level, each table has the luxury of becoming enveloped by its own invisible veil of privacy, allowing animated conversation to flow within that discreet container. Too much noise, on the other hand, aggressively invades the space and interferes with the guests’ ability to engage with one another.1

In this brief excerpt from Danny Meyer’s Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business, the restaurateur points to the implications of noise in the dining experience. Many, if not most, of us can recall an unpleasant dining experience. For some, that unpleasant experience may have had little to do with the actual food but with the invasion and interference of the dining space by noise. For example, perhaps the music and background noise were too loud, jarring, overwhelming, or disconnected with the food and restaurant, making even conversation difficult. Recently, I found myself dining with my daughter and her middle school friends in a national chain known for wings and a sports-themed decor. Along with an array of televisions tuned to local and national sporting events, the dining area included overwhelmingly loud bass-driven music emanating from the numerous speakers circling the dining room’s perimeter. Making it difficult to carry on...

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