The word “banquet” comes from the old French word banc which was in turn derived from the old Italian banchetto and means “bench”. And so, it indicated a meal or repast that could be taken or shared together whilst sitting on a bench. Indeed, there is little in the world more delightful than the sharing of food and wine beautifully and delicately prepared. However, one of the many things that has rather gone out of fashion in this modern age is that small and inconsequential ritual of giving thanks before the meal. Today with such apparent abundance it seems rather redundant.
The ancient Greeks as well as other ancient cultures were well aware of the direct connection between food and life. But more than that they intuitively understood that it was the Earth that gave of itself to sustain all life forms upon it. And so, in the Hellenic world the Greeks gave thanks to Cybele known as the Mountain Mother, and to Gaia the Earth goddess as well as to Demeter the goddess of harvests.