By adopting a “weak” version of cultural relativism, we can manage our own ethical discomfort without disrespecting those whose culinary values and practices we do not share. This entails recognizing the contextual and performative aspects of all gastronomic rhetoric, including claims of expertise over questions of culinary authenticity and standards of acceptable behavior during the consumption of food and drink; all such claims, while often couched in the language of moral certainty, are in reality susceptible to contestation. It is thus in the language of right and wrong that those engaged in culinary discussions affirm, negotiate, and modify the prevailing standards of taste and good manners. This becomes especially clear when local people test foreigners' willingness to adapt to local gastronomic practices and styles of consumption, aspects of performance that are often coded in ways that force uninitiated outsiders to fail, perhaps unknowingly, in local eyes.

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