Free Essay On Saudi Traditional Food
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There is no definition of culture without the involvement of foods and the Saudi kingdom is no different. The mention of Saudi tickles the mouth to water at the thought of the many delicacies served all over the world. These range from meats to vegetables and starches and involve many of spices. The Saudi traditional cuisine comprised mostly of healthy and delicious foods. The diet has hardly changed over the past millennium. Food was one thing that brought people of a family or even friends together. It was therefore valued as a not only means to healthy living but as an event creation tool.
The Saudi people valued meals as a means of demonstrating cultural practices to the younger generations. It is at the table that the sitting arrangements defined gender roles where women sat separately from men. When on the same table, women were not allowed to touch the food of a male person directly unless such a male person was a relative or a spouse. Furthermore, women and children may also be served in different rooms in a home setting. In such cases, men are served first and then women. In most cases, food was served on large mats and the use of tables was uncommon in the history of the kingdom. The use of mats is still common in many Saudi homes. The traditional Saudi cuisine comprises mainly of chicken, lamb, yoghurt, rice, potatoes and wheat. The most common Saudi traditional foods include falafel and the shawarma. Saudi is one of the largest importers of lamb and chicken in the world (Banna 45).
The preparation of meals in the kingdom was done by women. For most Saudi homes, every meal is a feast with more than one woman preparing. Younger girls stay with their mothers and aunts in order to attain the most excellent culinary and hospitality skills. They are also a helping hand since most families eat together in a large group. Moreover, the Saudi dining traditions also involved beverages such as coffee (gahwa) which was a gesture of hospitality. Coffee was served with cardamom (Zaouali 66).
The coffee would be prepared for guests by bringing in the beans, cooling and grinding them before grinding them with mortar and pestle. In the present however, coffee is not grounded before guests. Tea was and still remains a common custom of the Saudi people; however tea is served with a variety of milk from goats, camels and cow. Traditional Saudi food is also spicy and very popular on the international platform. During weddings, preparation of a variety of dishes including haneeth, jalamah, kabsa, sambusak and mutabaqq is common. In any case, Saudi weddings are characterized by plenty of different traditional foods to date (Zaouali 88).
During meals, it is common to hear the words, sahtain which means the rather common bon appétit. The Saudi cuisine also falls in line with religious beliefs as pork and alcohol are not to be served according to Islam. The Saudi people are also fond of making toasts in honor of the host. Most of the time, toasts are made to his health and for prosperity. After a meal, it is almost customary to say, Bismillah or daima. Daima calls for the perpetual provision by God while Bismilah is to show gratefulness to God for provision. The Traditional Saudi dining etiquette did not allow for the use of the left hand during meals. The sitting arrangement involved separation of men and women with the most honorable male sitting at the middle position and the second most honored following in that order.
The Saudi people also commonly share utensils and use very little cutlery, in fact, only spoons in a Saudi dining setting. During meals, the people usually use their hands even to eat rice. The etiquette of dining on a Saudi table requires that one washes his or her hands before partaking a meal. It is also important to eat only from one’s plate (Banna 56).
Saudi traditional food is unique as is the culture of the kingdom. In the modern society, the serving of traditional foods encourages a sense of togetherness especially where Saudi people are away from home. Furthermore, foreigners enjoy Saudi traditional foods since it is deliciously prepared for every occasion. Traditional food is common in hotels internationally. During business lunches and dinners however, the culture holds that a man may not bring his wife along to the table. It is also important to note that when a person invites another for a meal at a hotel, the person who makes the invite always pays the bill. Saudi traditional foods are commonly prepared in large quantities during festivities and holidays such as Riyadh and when breaking the fast. Saudi women pride themselves in their cooking skills which they value as important for making a good home and maintaining their families. They spend a great deal of their time reviewing recipes in order to keep their traditional foods as delicious as ever (Anglo Info 2).
Anglo Info. "Food and Drink in Saudi Arabia:A guide to mealtime etiquette and eating out in Saudi Arabia." Anglo Info (2014): 2-3.
Banna, Salma. Arabic Cuisine - Foods from the Middle East. London: Routledge, 2009.
Zaouali, Lilia. Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World: A Concise History with 174 Recipes. Sacramento: University of California Press, 2007.
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