Eating habits may be different between people living in different areas of the globe but we can say that eating manners are more or less same across the globe. Here we shall discuss and compare the dining way of Saudis and Americans. The core issue discussed underneath will be the amount of food served on the table. Taking more food in the plate and ending up in spoiling the surplus food is condemned in different ways by the parents and elders in almost all the societies. I think it is fair to say that in America most Americans would have memory of hearing their mom’s and dad’s say “Clean up your plate. There are children starving in the world with no food at all.” As a result of this order, many Americans have grown up in a culture where it is considered necessary to take only as much as one wants to eat and taking surplus food in plate is not liked at all, eating everything on the plate is noted as a good eating habit. However it is also noted that this eating habit has not helped with the ongoing obesity found in America either as many will take more than the average size portion one needs to be sustained.
Whereas in Saudi Arabia, wasting food is also considered very bad habit but there is also a difference in serving food on the table. Preparing more food and serving more in the plates of guests is considered as a gesture of hospitality and love. Of course it is preferred to eat everything on the plate but no one will force one to eat more than they want to as a result we also see much food is wasted because it is being served this way. Firstly too much food is prepared and a fair amount may also be left on the individual plates. Finishing all in the plate and then not taking anything for the second time is also considered as if someone did not liked the taste.
A married Saudi male Hani says that “Yes, it is in the Saudi culture to have that “hospitality” in serving more food to the guests. Sometimes even among family members the idea remains the same almost. My parents still insist that I, and a bit as well for my siblings, to have more if I finish my plate, if I didn’t … then it seems that I didn’t like the food, and it is never taken as if someone has eaten enough and he is full.
After I got married I thought that me being the head of my family this is over. At my home we prepare and eat the needful only but whenever I visit her parents I feel like they are trying to stuff me as more as possible, like something being done with the lamb for slaughter. And it is extremely hard to say NO please I’m full, though at my own home I can simply walk away from the dinner table or explain that I have eaten as per my appetite.”
Wasting food by taking more than need and ending up in leaving extra food in plates is also disliked in Saudi families. Many people remember the voice of their parents, warning them that the leftover food in plates will chase them till the Day of Judgment.
Food & Health