Virgil said that a taverna had three muses: Venus (love), Bromius (fun) and Ceres (food). Foodies have squeezed the fun out of restaurants; for them, food isn't a passion, it's a fashion. Businessmen have commoditised eating out, and angry chefs replaced the love of the great maitre d's and waiters of yesteryear. James Pembroke believes our attitudes to eating in public reveal more about the development and nature of our society, than how and what we consume in the privacy of our homes. Restaurants mirror our history and our economic ups and downs: the French aristocracy never ate in public and lost their heads; ours did, and kept theirs. By combining a personal memoir of an eccentric upbringing with a history of eating out in Britain from the Romans to the present day, James Pembroke has written a hugely entertaining yet informative book, which belongs as much in the kitchen as alongside more pious tomes in the library.