What is the purpose of feasting? Sir Roy Strong analyses the historical functions of feasts, and Sheila Dillon finds out why cooking made us human and allowed us to feast.
Feasts have been a feature of human life since humans first mastered fire and climbed out of the trees, but what function do feasts have in today's largely urban society?
Sheila Dillon visits the Thames Festival Feast, a modern urban harvest festival, bringing food back into the heart of the city and recreating a sense of community. Grape treading, sacred mayonnaise making and mobile food gardens make a vivid modern feast. Central to it a table spanning Southwark Bridge, its tablecloth printed with collections of Londoners' food stories.
The traditional feast has been disappearing from rural areas, but the Welcombe community in Devon some years ago introduced a Christmas Salamongundi to bring the community together to celebrate. Poet and author John Moat explains how it came about.
Sir Roy Strong, author of Feast outlines the social, political and religious subtext of historical feasting and, with Rev Richard Coles, comments on the dining TV reality show, Come Dine With Me.