…these short cuts are only permissible because one is and feels at home, among the family, where ceremony would be an affectation. For example, to save washing up, the dessert may be handed out on improvised plates torn from the cake-box (with a joke about ‘taking the liberty’, to mark the transgression, and the neighbour invited in for a meal will also receive his piece of cardboard (offering a plate would exclude him) as a sign of familiarity. Similarly, the plates are not changed between dishes. The soup plate, wiped with bread, can be used right through the meal. The hostess will certainly offer to ‘change the plates’, pushing back her chair with one hand and reaching with the other for the plate next to her, but everyone will protest (‘It all gets mixed up inside you’) and if she were to insist it would look as if she wanted to show off her crockery (which she is allowed to if it is a new present) or to treat her guests as strangers, as is sometimes deliberately done to intruders or ‘scroungers’ who never return the invitation.
Pierre Bourdieu. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Trans. Richard Nice. Routledge, 1984.