Eating habits

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Eating habits

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-05-22, 0:31

What are some eating habits from your culture (or perhaps even from other cultures you're familiar with) that you find interesting in some way?

I would say that one from my own culture is that we're supposed to eat everything with our right hand and wash our hands both before and after every meal, though not necessarily before or after tea. IME, South Indian meals tend to be very liquidy, so your hand inevitably gets dirty, whereas every tea-time snack I can seem to think of is dry (and usually deep-fried).

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Re: Eating habits

Postby Tenebrarum » 2015-05-22, 4:36

People in the northern part of Vietnam eat dogs, especially in the countryside, and this practice has been spreading south steadily for the last five decades. Interesting but not exactly pleasant.

The concept of 'beef' apparently came with the French, because in older times it was unfathomable for Vietnamese people to use cattle and buffaloes for anything other than ploughing and freight. You don't eat your family's biggest treasure.

Pork was reserved for the grandest of occasions, at least in the north, so the four main sources of protein used to be tofu, fish, eggs (chicken, duck, goose and quail) and poultry, in ascending order of value.

Also, in proper chopstick ettiquette, you use the bigger ends of the sticks to pick up food from the communal bowl or plate to your personal bowl, and the smaller, pointier ends to bring the food to your mouth. But I don't see many people do this anymore. What a shame because that is so much more hygienic.
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Re: Eating habits

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-05-22, 10:28

Tenebrarum wrote:People in the northern part of Vietnam eat dogs, especially in the countryside, and this practice has been spreading south steadily for the last five decades. Interesting but not exactly pleasant.

Did that practice enter northern Vietnam from China?
The concept of 'beef' apparently came with the French, because in older times it was unfathomable for Vietnamese people to use cattle and buffaloes for anything other than ploughing and freight. You don't eat your family's biggest treasure.

What did they do when the cattle and buffaloes were too old for ploughing or freight? Abandon them to die?
Pork was reserved for the grandest of occasions, at least in the north, so the four main sources of protein used to be tofu, fish, eggs (chicken, duck, goose and quail) and poultry, in ascending order of value.

I think this is similar to us in a way. Pork is rarely eaten in Kerala AFAIK; even Christians don't eat it very often. Fish is traditionally our main source of protein. Apart from that, beef was the most commonly eaten meat, although this has recently been replaced by chicken.

This reminds me of my mom's Malayalee Hindu friends. A lot (if not all) of them eat beef; in fact, some of them love beef with a passion. However, their husbands are totally vegetarian. Apparently, they never make beef when cooking at home out of respect for their husbands, but my mom would normally make beef and serve it at parties (including her friends' parties). When she found out that some of the people at these parties were vegetarian, she tried throwing a party without cooking beef for a change, and all her friends were like "what happened to her? Did she suddenly go veggie or something?" :lol:
Also, in proper chopstick ettiquette, you use the bigger ends of the sticks to pick up food from the communal bowl or plate to your personal bowl, and the smaller, pointier ends to bring the food to your mouth. But I don't see many people do this anymore. What a shame because that is so much more hygienic.

What do they do now? Use the smaller ends for both?

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Re: Eating habits

Postby Varislintu » 2015-05-22, 17:48

For Finns, eating in silence, even in company. Not as a strict rule but it's definitely traditionally a thing. You were supposed to respect the food, and the fact that you got to eat, since famines were regular occurences.
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Re: Eating habits

Postby TeneReef » 2015-05-22, 18:17

vijayjohn wrote:(and usually deep-fried).



In palm oil or in healthier oils (olive or sunflower oil)?
What does Ayurveda say on the issue of palm oil (bad for the heart and for our planet)? :hmm:
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Re: Eating habits

Postby Levike » 2015-05-22, 19:58

There's a saying "Magyar ember evés közben nem beszél", that is "Hungarians don't speak while eating".

My elementary-school Literature teacher told us that one of our poets got angry at his father and left the table when he got told to keep silent while eating.

When I first moved to my current city I went out with a couple of Romanian friends and they were all asking me why I'm not communicating.
Last edited by Levike on 2015-05-23, 0:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Eating habits

Postby JackFrost » 2015-05-23, 0:06

vijayjohn wrote:What do they do now? Use the smaller ends for both?

Basically. Or a spoon or fork only used to put food from the common dish to your own dish. At least that's how was it done when I did meals with a Vietnamese family.
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Re: Eating habits

Postby Luís » 2015-05-23, 11:21

Varislintu wrote:For Finns, eating in silence, even in company. Not as a strict rule but it's definitely traditionally a thing. You were supposed to respect the food, and the fact that you got to eat, since famines were regular occurences.


Eating in silence would be a faux-pas around here. Most of the time you get together with people for a meal precisely to talk (food is secondary)
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Re: Eating habits

Postby Tenebrarum » 2015-05-26, 13:20

vijayjohn wrote:Did that practice enter northern Vietnam from China?

I have no idea.

vijayjohn wrote:What did they do when the cattle and buffaloes were too old for ploughing or freight? Abandon them to die?

AFAIK, they were left alive until they keeled over and died. If there was beef, it's a huge deal. It was often seen as the village's common property, and could be used to pay off debts to the crown, for example.

However, their husbands are totally vegetarian.

Is it a cultural thing for Malayalee men to be vegetarian? Or do the husband just happen to belong to a vegetarian circle? :shock:

vijayjohn wrote:
Also, in proper chopstick ettiquette, you use the bigger ends of the sticks to pick up food from the communal bowl or plate to your personal bowl, and the smaller, pointier ends to bring the food to your mouth. But I don't see many people do this anymore.

What do they do now? Use the smaller ends for both?

Yeah pretty much.
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Re: Eating habits

Postby linguoboy » 2015-05-26, 19:21

Luís wrote:
Varislintu wrote:For Finns, eating in silence, even in company. Not as a strict rule but it's definitely traditionally a thing. You were supposed to respect the food, and the fact that you got to eat, since famines were regular occurences.

Eating in silence would be a faux-pas around here. Most of the time you get together with people for a meal precisely to talk (food is secondary)

There's even a word for hanging out at the dinner table chatting in Mediterranean cultures: sobremesa/sobretaula/sopratavola (lit. "above-table"). A communal meal is considered incomplete without it.

In American English, we have the expression "to eat and run" which means to rush off immediately after eating. It connotes rudeness.

In traditional Anglo-American etiquette there was a custom called "turning the table". That is, you were expected to make conversation with the person on both sides of you over the course of the meal. In order to make sure that this happened, the practice at some formal dinners was to start off with everyone talking to the person on their left side and then consciously shift halfway through. It's pretty much a dead custom now, from what I can see.
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Re: Eating habits

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-05-26, 20:27

Tenebrarum wrote:Is it a cultural thing for Malayalee men to be vegetarian? Or do the husband just happen to belong to a vegetarian circle? :shock:

I honestly don't know why it is that these particular men don't eat meat but their wives do. All I can say is that to some extent, vegetarianism in India in general reflects the freedom to make dietary choices, which is a luxury that an awful lot of Indians simply do not have. So for example, vegetarianism is more common among higher-caste Hindus than lower-caste Hindus, and these people are fairly high-caste Hindus (AFAIR they're all Nairs). Perhaps men also have more freedom to decide what they want to eat than women do; after all, more often than not, it's men who tell their wives what to make for dinner rather than the other way around.
linguoboy wrote:There's even a word for hanging out at the dinner table chatting in Mediterranean cultures: sobremesa/sobretaula/sopratavola (lit. "above-table"). A communal meal is considered incomplete without it.

Except in Portuguese where it means dessert?

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Re: Eating habits

Postby languagepotato » 2015-05-26, 21:02

in morocco, it's like this:
when eating, eat in silence, same thing as with the Finns; respect the food.
but oddly enough, before or after eating or in between courses (as long as your done with the course currently on the table) chatting is expected.

also, we're expected to eat everything with the right hand (probably because 90+% of the population are sunni muslims)


also, our meal times aren't breakfast - lunch - dinner

it's breakfast (somewhere between 7 and 11 am) - lunch (somewhere between 1 and 5 pm) - tea time (somewhere between 6 and 9 pm) - dinner (somewhere between 10 pm and whenever you go to sleep)
tea time and breakfast are almost the same foodwise, same thing goes for lunch and dinner
a typical morrocan day is like this foodwise:
cookies/moroccan pancakes/muffins and tea/coffee/milk - some warm meal - cookies/moroccan pancakes/muffins and tea/coffee/milk - some warm meal

and last but not least, whenever we eat warm meals, we eat fruit afterwards
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Re: Eating habits

Postby IpseDixit » 2015-05-26, 22:06

[flag=]it[/flag]

Breakfast - breakfast is a relatively frugal meal. We have caffè latte with either cookies, or fette biscottate with jam, or a brioche or cereals.

Desayuno - el desayuno es una comida bastante frugal. Tomamos caffè latte con galletas, o fette biscottate con mermelada, o una brioche o cereales.

Lunch - we have two courses: primo, which is either pasta, risotto or a soup (the latter is less common), and secondo which consists of meat or fish or cheese and vegs + bread. And at the end we have a fruit and coffee.

Almuerzo - habemos dos platos: el primo, que es o pasta o risotto o sopa (esta última es menos común), y el secondo que consiste en carne, pescado o queso y verduras y pan. Y al final tomamos una fruta y café.

Dinner - same as lunch except that we don't have the primo.

Cena - el mismo que el almuerzo salvo que no tomamos el primo

You can also switch lunch with dinner and have only the secondo for lunch and both primo and secondo for dinner.

Se puede también cambiar el almuerzo por la cena y tomar sólo el secondo para el almuerzo y primo y secondo para la cena.

Other things:
Otras cosas:

- Usually once a week we eat pizza.
- Generalmente una vez a semana comemos un pizza.

- Not speaking while eating would be awkward.
- No hablar mentre se come sería desmañado.

- Over here a popular tradition says that bread should not be put upside-down because it symbolizes the body of Christ.
- Aquí una tradición popular dice que no se dobría poner el pan al revés porque simboliza al cuerpo de Cristo.

- Another thing, we eat at the table, not on a couch in front of TV as we can see in some American movies :\.
- Otra cosa, nosotros comemos a la mesa, no en el sofá frente a la televisión como se vee en algunas películas americanas.
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Re: Eating habits

Postby linguoboy » 2015-05-26, 22:10

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Re: Eating habits

Postby IpseDixit » 2015-05-26, 22:13


I had already corrected it before you posted. :hmpf:

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Re: Eating habits

Postby linguoboy » 2015-05-26, 22:14

IpseDixit wrote:I had already corrected it before you posted. :hmpf:

It took me a little while to find the video!
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Re: Eating habits

Postby loqu » 2015-05-26, 23:54

Luís wrote:Eating in silence would be a faux-pas around here. Most of the time you get together with people for a meal precisely to talk (food is secondary)

Same here. Sometimes, at work, I find some excuse to eat alone so that I don't have to have some shallow chat with a coworker I don't know well. Yes I'm that asocial. :lol:
linguoboy wrote:There's even a word for hanging out at the dinner table chatting in Mediterranean cultures: sobremesa/sobretaula/sopratavola (lit. "above-table"). A communal meal is considered incomplete without it.

Sobremesas are huge around here indeed. I feel really uneasy at sobremesas, I personally prefer to tidy the table up, sit on the couch and talk there instead.
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Re: Eating habits

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-05-27, 2:05

languagepotato wrote:also, our meal times aren't breakfast - lunch - dinner

it's breakfast (somewhere between 7 and 11 am) - lunch (somewhere between 1 and 5 pm) - tea time (somewhere between 6 and 9 pm) - dinner (somewhere between 10 pm and whenever you go to sleep)

Same with Indian meal times, more or less. I've seen a friend of mine often express surprise at her Indian friends (including me) eating dinner much later than she'd expect. She didn't realize we had tea in between, often accompanied by snacks.
and last but not least, whenever we eat warm meals, we eat fruit afterwards

Usually, I have nothing after a meal, although if I do have something, it will most likely be some kind of fruit. If my parents manage to find and buy good mangoes, they will cut them into pieces once they're ripe and leave them in a bowl or plate for everyone in the family to eat with forks. Alternatively, I could have plain yoghurt mixed with a bit of sugar, although I don't do that often. We have a few kinds of sweet snacks, but mostly we have them with tea. I think the closest thing to dessert we have is this, and in Kerala, that's usually reserved for festive occasions.

As for what we actually eat...well, that's complicated. :lol: I won't get into details unless somebody's really interested in reading like at least one paragraph of information on it or something.

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Re: Eating habits

Postby Varislintu » 2015-05-27, 6:26

In Finland, the meals of the day (approximately):

1) Breakfast at 6-11 am. A savoury meal, unless you're a child and get to eat sugary cereals. However, many porridge/yoghurt topings are actually sweet, but It's still perceived as a savoury meal. It's usually a pair of open-faced sandwitches with cold cuts and vegetables, or porridge/mysli with topping, or youghurt with topping, or cereal with milk.

2) Lunch at school or work 11 am to 3 pm. A warm, savoury meal. Usually a proper sitting down meal with a main course. But some may skip it or eat some snack, but then it's not really considered "having lunch".

3) For the third meal 4-8 pm, people's habits vary. If you have children, you probably serve a second warm, proper meal around the table at home. Possibly dessert. If you're childfree, you might go to a restaurant/out, or just have a cold snack or a bowl of noodles or whatever.

4) People often have an evening snack towards the evening, but quite rarely anything warm/cooked after 8 pm.


What I've always wondered about, it that in cultures where you might eat a proper meal at 9-10 pm, when do people go to bed? They must stay up pretty late? And when do people go to work in the morning then? And do kids also stay up for the evening dinners?

Also, in cultures where you have a long, slow lunch at work, does that mean you have to stay later at work in the evening to compensate? When do people usually "clock off" work in these cultures? If you do have to stay later, how does that work if you have children? Who makes dinner for them? When do they eat? How late do they stay up?

In Finland, people usually have 7.5 hours of work time and half an hour unpaid lunch break. If you go out for two hours for lunch, you have to stay later. So if usually you'd leave work at 5 pm, you'd have to stay to 6:30 instead. When you get home it's at least 7 pm. And smaller children go to bed at 8 pm. So I'm wonderring how that works.
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Re: Eating habits

Postby languagepotato » 2015-05-27, 7:37

IpseDixit wrote:- Over here a popular tradition says that bread should not be put upside-down because it symbolizes the body of Christ.


for moroccans: same thing different reason
we don't put bread upside down out of respect for food (that's a huge thing in morocco)

that's also the reason why it's terrible to purposefully step on food in general or even accidentally step on pomegranate seeds you dropped, if you drop pomegranate seeds, you kinda have to pick it up immediately so that you won't step on it

Varislintu wrote:
What I've always wondered about, it that in cultures where you might eat a proper meal at 9-10 pm, when do people go to bed? around 12 am - 1 am They must stay up pretty late? And when do people go to work in the morning then? this one's pretty complicated, so i'm gonna write a long text on it And do kids also stay up for the evening dinners? sometimes, or they have lunch leftovers as dinner and go to bed early


the when do you go to work in morocco text:
on monday through thursday: in general, right after breakfast, and you go home around sunset or dinner time. but if you work at a restaurant, it opens after the third prayer of the day (that prayer is when the sun is the highest) and it closes pretty late, i'd say around 2-3 am. if you work at a cybercafe it's from the second prayer (around noon) till the evening prayer (around dinner time). if you have your own "something" stand (like an orange juice stand), you open whenever you want and close whenever you want
on fridays: same as other weekdays but everything is closed around second prayer time and stores/restaurants (re-)open after third prayer time. but stands generally stay closed on fridays
saturdays are like weekdays (besides fridays) and on sundays either the store is closed or they're open on sundays just like any weekday (besides friday)
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