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I love food. I love planning it, preparing it, cooking it, and eating it. I think food is one of the finest gifts God has given us.

But before reading George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire, I hadn’t ever seriously considered participating in full course dining.

Then I thought more carefully about it and realized that I normally dine in courses when I eat at restaurants. When the waiter first comes, he brings some sort of light bread or snack course (1st course) and asks whether I’d like soup or salad or any appetizers. Suppose I request a salad and a hot appetizer. The waiter then comes back with my salad (2nd course), tells me my appetizer will come soon, and asks if I’m ready to order my main course. I order my main course and begin eating my salad. After some time, the waiter comes back with my appetizer (3rd course) and tells me how my main course is progressing. I enjoy the appetizer for a while and, when it’s about done, the waiter return with my main course (4th course). As I approach the end of my main course, the waiter asks whether I’m making room for dessert. Suppose I say I am and order a dessert. After some time, it arrives (5th course). At the very end, I am offered some mint candies (6th course). When I eat out, I regularly have a six-course dinner. If one of the two side dishes that came with my main course were offered as a course of its own, I would have a seven-course dinner.

Then I thought how my dining would be if I ate more in courses. I’d probably eat less food overall, because I’d eat more slowly. But each course, standing on its own without some other dish to distract from any of its shortcomings, would have to be of very high quality.

I read more about full course dining and found that my gastronomic education has been quite lacking. If, like me, you have thought that all the components of a meal have to be served at once, see some of the following links:

I feel foolish for not knowing more about this until now, but I’d like to try this. I’d love to have something like a home dining club to try dining like this on something like a monthly basis with friends and loved ones, or (if I like it enough) more frequently.