Jean-Anthelme on the disadvantages of restaurants:
There can be no doubt that the availability and attraction of the restaurateur’s wares may lead many people to indulge themselves beyond the limit of their faculties, and that this may cause indigestion, in the case of delicate stomachs, and some untimely sacrifices to the basest of Venuses.
But what is far more dangerous in our opinion to the social order is the fact that solitary reflection breeds egoism, by accustoming the individual to consider no one but himself, to hold aloof from his surroundings, and to show no consideration for others; and from their behaviour before, during, and after meals, it is an easy matter, in an ordinary society, to single out from a party of guests those who normally eat in restaurants*
He goes on to add, in the footnote –
*Among other things, when a dish of ready-cut food is being handed round, they help themselves and put it down in front of them, without passing it to the neighbours whose needs they are unaccustomed to considering.
I’d say that this ‘danger’ of the solitary diner is no longer much of a threat to our society. Agree?