Growing up it was not uncommon to have visitors drop by unannounced and expect a place to eat and sleep. We didn't always have enough time or food on hand to prepare what we classed as a company meal.
Setting the table with our very best dishes was a way to dress up a common meal so that it still seemed special and everyone thought they were being served a delicious meal.
I recently debunked that theory when I tried to make octopus palatable by serving it on some good china. Either I didn't try the right recipe or octopus is simply not made to be eaten.
Have you ever tried it?