I am beginning to think the Egyptians (maybe all middle-eastern countries, I am not sure) have a better way of eating than we do in the West 🙂 In the West we sit down to a meal and every person has his/her own plate – have you ever noticed how much waste this involves? And how much pressure we put on the kids to “finish your dinner!”
In Egypt there are several plates put in the centre of the table and each person eats from those plates, scooping the food up with pieces of bread or a spoon. I can see some wrinkling your noses already! But wait, there is an art to using the bread….your fingers are not supposed to touch the food in the bowl and your fingers are not supposed to touch your mouth when you put the food into it!!! I see children as young as 3 years old in Egypt being taught this art by their parents and siblings.
Ok, so forget about the bread – we can all still have our own plate but fill it from the bowls in small portions as we want it instead of starting with a full plate. The bowls of food are usually only small soup-bowl size. It is not important that the bowls are full; there is variety; anything that is in the kitchen is on the table; everyone only takes what they want; there is no waste and there is usually food left for the next meal or the next day! Great idea and cheap! A western dinner served Egyptian style could include a bowl of minced meat and onion, a bowl of chopped cucumber, tomato, parsley, a bowl of boiled, fried or roasted potatoes, a bowl of boiled, mashed carrot/parsnip. Served Egyptian style, dinner becomes a feast!
Imagine the fun of a couple of families coming together to eat this meal, it just needs a little co-operation and co-ordination. Saves everyone money, brings people together and would make life fun! How to eat it? Put it all on a table and let everyone help themselves. A little bit of everything goes a long way!