This article, based on “Changing Tastes: The Effects of Eating Out,” the Annual Distinguished Lecture at SOAS Food Studies Centre given on March 21, 2018, focuses on change and continuity in the practice of dining out in England between 1995 and 2015. After briefly describing a restudy in three cities—Bristol, London, and Preston—the article investigates two tendencies that have progressed over the twenty-year period: familiarization and diversification. Dining out has become more common but at the same time variety has increased, allowing the expression of taste in the form of cultural omnivorousness. Behind these patterns can be found a small number of principles which steer the practice of dining out, ones shared almost universally but observed in different ways and to different degrees by sections of the population. Cohort, class, ethnicity, and location are important sources of differentiation, but almost everyone is subject to and influenced by similar imperatives to experience variety, feel comfortable, and display adequate practical knowledge. It is concluded that the rate of change has been relatively slow and that major current trends have been in train since the 1970s.

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