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Champagne and Chocolate: "Taste" and Inversion in a French Wedding Ritual

Deborah Reed-Danahay
American Anthropologist
New Series, Vol. 98, No. 4 (Dec., 1996), pp. 750-761
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/681883
Page Count: 12
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Champagne and Chocolate: "Taste" and Inversion in a French Wedding Ritual
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Abstract

A version of "reverse orientalism" is at work in the anthropological silences surrounding a French wedding ritual that relies upon scatlogical and sexual metaphors and the symbolism of bodily fluids. This essay describes the ritual of la rôtie as it takes place in the Auvergne region, where a mixture of champagne and chocolate in a chamber pot is served to a newly married couple on their wedding night. Concepts of "taste" come into play both in the explicit mocking of bourgeois sensibilities that this practice evokes among participants and in ethnographic choices of appropriate objects of study.

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