It is not strange, of course, that the act of cutting meat should be invested with much significance and pomp: from the time of the first stone knives, the first raw or roasted carcasses, it is the man of skill and virile prowess who has been the one to dole out what meat was mete for his dependents. But the art of carving is one that, when learned at all, must be practiced faithfully, and few families now have either the ovens or the appetites (given the incomes) for haunches and hams big enough to work on. My father is one of four or five men I know who still make a little show, a kind of precise ballet, of carving, and since our family has shrunk with the passage of time and peace and war he has few chances in a year to stand up to a bird or a great roast of beef. When he does, it is a noble performance, and one that rightly should be done to the sound of trumpets.
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