Cultural Observation I

When you are a guest at someone’s house you do not, repeat do not, set down your plate/cup completely empty. A few bites/sips are left in the plate/cup to show that you are shab3an or “full.” Setting them down empty, on the other hand, is a sign that you’re in need, and hence aren’t “full.”

I’m still not quite sure what “full” means, but I’m pretty sure they don’t mean full stomach-wise. More along the lines of you’re used to wealth, you’re used to having your needs fulfilled. Ergo you’re not going to pull out your evil eye and blast them with it.

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18 Comments

Filed under Cultural Observations, Syria

18 responses to “Cultural Observation I

  1. I hate this. What’s wrong with just finishing your plate/cup? It’s stupid and wasteful.

  2. I find this really sad too…and I hate it when people who come over to our house don’t finish their plates becaust that means we’ll be throwing away their food…

  3. Anas

    I always finish whatever is offered to me.. I even ask for more 😉

    people can think whatever they want about me, they can go to hell for all i care..

  4. souvenirsandscars

    I completely agree with all of you!

    mamamona – Judging by the fact that many Syrians don’t even eat their leftovers, I highly doubt they find sacrificing a few mouthfuls in favor of looking prestigious to be wasteful 😦 Out of curiosity, is it the same in Egypt?

    hiddensouls – I know! It’s even worse when they don’t finish it because you’re left with all this food you can’t possibly eat, yet can’t possibly throw away. Ours usually goes to the street cats that lurk around downstairs.

    Anas – LOL. Seconds? *gasp*!! You empty, empty person =P. I can tell you one thing for sure though: I got me a rep of being a pretty “empty” person, too. But, like you said, they can think whatever they want. I refuse to forsake my morals and beliefs for some cultural bs.

  5. Is this a contradiction to the previous post (Gratitude)? I say eat it all and they should know better.. after all, if you leave some, guess what, they can’t offer it to the poor.. it’ll just go down the garbage disposal!

    ATW

  6. Ah ha, so this is why my MIL always keeps dumping more and more food on my plate.

  7. souvenirsandscars

    ATW – It is, isn’t it? Unfortunately it’s what’s really going on.

    Rahma – LOL!! Your MIL and my grandmother!!

  8. “Out of curiosity, is it the same in Egypt?”

    It is but I suspect not to the same degree, but then again I am often oblivious to what’s going on around me, lol Rahma…I find my self often saying OOOOH that’s why! about stuff.

  9. Anas

    @souvenirsandscars

    I guess the proper opposite of full here would be hungry! 😉 I have a reputation for eating like two min, yet I’m so slim it’s not even funny.

  10. Anas

    sorry “two men”
    my bad!!

  11. souvenirsandscars

    Mamamona – oh how i miss those days of blissful ignorance. Going on 3 years now, though, I’ve got this insider understanding of Syria and it’s culture. Unfortunate? At times. Btw, I lovvee that OHHHH. Realization’s just grand, ain’t it?

    Anas – lol, your poor hosts 😉 I can tell by the watermelon your avatars grasping in delight that you are quite an “empty” person… or at least I’m guessing it’s a watermelon?? Btw, do you have a blog? Link if you do please 🙂

  12. Im sorry, but I just have to leave food on the plate! Here in Egypt, they will keep filling it and keep filling it, and bring out the next course of sweets. It makes me sick 😦

  13. Ummtravis – I totally understand! Arabs have a tendency of not taking ‘no’ for an answer, and sometimes you’re pressured into situations you’d rather not be in. Thankfully, I still have my dad around. So when people insist I try the lamb that ‘Don’t worry, tastes exactly like beef! And don’t you trust my cooking? And what’s wrong with lamb? Are you too good for us?’ (and I just want to shut them up!) my dad’s always there to finish off my plate. Don’t know what I’d do without him!! G’luck though, with your dilemma 🙂

  14. Anas

    Hey souvenirsandscars,
    thanks for ur interest in my blog, here’s the link:
    http://anasqtiesh.wordpress.com/
    it’s bilingual (arabic – english)
    I don’t know how good ur arabic is if at all, but I hope u still enjoy the posts in english
    cheers,

    PS: I Hope this comment doesn’t get stuck in the spam filter!!

  15. You don’t like Lamb? This is a sin in itself! Please pray 40 rak3as and ask for forgiveness! :p

    ATW

  16. i’ve heard that so many times but i just don’t get it. i hate when people don’t eat up. i mean you go through all that trouble of cooking! and it’s so wasteful!

  17. Anas – well I don’t read Arabic that well, but I’ll give your english posts a try 😉

    ATW – So I’ve been told numerous times! It’s actually not lamb. My mom occasionally cooks lamb. Edible lamb. Sheesh. I dunno. Maybe it’s just me :S

    Meow – It is very wasteful isn’t it? I’ve yet to understand these people… cute name btw 😉

  18. Pingback: Cultural Observation II « Souvenirs and Scars

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