In opera, eating and drinking function largely as they do in society—they define social relationships. The antisocial act of refusing to share food or drink with merry people carries a negative connotation and implies an unfortunate result. Further gastromusicological laws may be deduced from Verdi’s operas:
- A meal is never sad.
- Hunger is never happy.
- A shared meal or drink is a socially cohesive event.
- The presence of food or drink precludes immediate catastrophe (unless poison is involved).
- The act of feasting is a morally neutral event, but a feasting group or individual is morally negative when contrasted with a positive hungry group or individual.
- The hero is a sober individual.
- Music and text may lie, but the gastronomic sign never does.
The interaction between these gastronomic codes and other interweaving codes is often complex.
Related article: Verdi’s pigs