Meal time behavioral cultural differences

Topics: Culture, Eating, Food Pages: 3 (1288 words) Published: October 19, 2014
Burping and slurping at the dinner table, how disgusting? In our culture such behaviors aren’t acceptable along with eating with our hands or even eating food off the floor after we have dropped it. Much to my surprise, after doing some research, all of those unacceptable behaviors that we have grown up to avoid at the dinner table are accepted by other cultures around the world. Everyone is different, especially our cultures. I mainly discovered that what we find acceptable in our culture as good mealtime behaviors is disrespectful in other cultures. Also, what we find rude other cultures find acceptable at the dining table.

In Muslim cultures, instead of using utensils they use their right hand to eat food. The reasoning behind them using their right hand is that they generally use their left hand for hygiene purposes. Muslims consider their left hand “unclean” when it comes to eating. In America, we begin teaching our children how to use utensils as early as 12 months old. Yes, we do have foods in American that are made to be eaten with our hands, but for those foods that aren’t “finger foods,” we are to use good manners and use our utensils. Also in Muslim cultures, if someone drops bread on the floor all they have to do is pick it up, kiss the bread, and raise it to his or her forehead before putting the bread back on their plate. Muslims consider this action a sign of respect for their food and the hard work that went into making it. Dropping food on the floor is an automatic trip to the trashcan with the food that fell. We, Americans, know the dirt and germs that cover floors, so when food touches the ground we do not put it back on our plates, but simply make a trip to the trashcan.

In Asian countries, eating all the food on your plate is a sign of disrespect host. The host thinks that they didn’t feed you enough. Napier-Fitzpatrick says, “They’ll keep refilling it, and if they run out, they’ll be upset that they didn’t have enough food for you.”...


Cited: “Dining Customs of Different Cultures.” Familyeducation.com. 5 Oct. 2014 http://life.familyeducation.com/cross-cultural-relations/behavior/48976.html

“Dining Manners Around the World.” Parents.com. 5 Oct. 2014 http://www.parents.com/kids/responsibility/manners/dining-manners-around-the-world/
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