I believe it is fair to say that in America most Americans have grown up hearing their mom’s and dad’s say “Clean up your plate. There are children starving in the world with no food at all.” And as a result, many Americans have grown up in a culture to take enough to fulfill their hunger and eat everything on their plate. In turn, this 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, the more food that is prepared and placed on individual plates by the hosts or parents indicates 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. Not surprisingly I have seen a lot of food wasted by being served in this manner. Wasted because too much has been prepared and a fair amount may also be left on the individual plates. Yet if one does clean their plate, then the expectation is they must have more for they probably were not given enough in the first place.
I have also found in my experiences when dining in Saudi Arabia, unless I have personally prepared the meal, whoever else has prepared it seems to take great delight in preparing the plates of others. This is tough for me as in general I really do not need to eat much before I feel full. Plus, I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a picky eater and there are some Saudi dishes that I’ve just never acquired a taste for. Therefore I would prefer to fix my own plate rather than accept what is given, take a bite here and there and then move and mix the food around so it looks as if I’ve sampled everything when my plate is collected at the end of the meal.
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