The project involves detailed analysis of a collection of forty Thanksgiving, Easter and Passover Dinners. We are looking at the many different activities that occur during these dinners, including interaction among family members (teasing, compliments, complaints, offers, arguments, reminiscing, etc.), "ceremonial" activities (such as Thanksgiving and Easter rituals, the Passover seder, the saying of Grace), and the basic organization of interaction on these occasions -- how participants manage talking and eating, how social relationships are managed, etc. Aresty Research Assistants in 2009-2010 worked on food complaints. Aresty Research Assistants during 2010-11 examined positive assessments of food, including food compliments. Aresty Research assistants during 2011-12 worked on object requests. Aresty Research assistants during 2012-13 have examined food offers and how they constitute an important part of the serving of a meal. Work on food requests and food offers over the past two years connects in important ways with prior work on food complaints and food compliments, as requests and offers frequently generate compliments or complaints. Aresty Research assistants during 2013-14 will work on exploring the connections between requests, offers, complaints and compliments at the family “ceremonial” dinner table.
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