In my humble opinion the refreshment table is pretty neat idea. A Mage spend two Arcane Powders and starts casting the ritual, then two others join in. Viola! A buffet of yummy, health-and-mana-regenerating, Manna Biscuit goodness appears before your raid. The table sticks around for five minutes or however long it takes to deplete its fifty stacks of food. This is probably one of Blizzard's best additions.
In it's own way, the Ritual of Refreshment is also kind of a curse for Mages. True- the reagents cost a total seventeen silver at the vendor, that's not hard to swallow. Keylogger of Stormscale is annoyed by requests for tables. She pointed out that anyone with a friendly level of reputation with the Shattered Sun Offensive can purchase Naaru Rations, no badgering required. Other posters agreed that it's not the process of casting that's at issue, but the sense of entitlement from other folks about a table.