Monday, January 21, 2013

Culture Blurb: Buffet Style Meals

This is a small cultural difference that I hardly noticed until last night. I was thinking about how, through my blog, I hope to provide snippets, like short video clips, for people back home to get a taste of my experience. So last night I was thinking, they probably have a misunderstanding of what dinner looks like, because it is similar, but not quite like dinner at home.
Everything is served buffet style to a degree. The larger the event, the more buffet it is. For example, each night at dinner, we cook the food and then bring it onto this small glass table in the living room. There are two big comfy chairs, a couch for two, and a regular chair that we position around the food table at dinner. We stack the plates with the spoons atop (Tanzanians don’t often use forks) next to the food. Guests eat first, then men, then children, then women. For the first few weeks, this meant that I ate first, but now I count as a woman, which I am quite proud of. Often times the wife serves the man and the children food. Like any buffet, you go down the line and take your food. We don’t eat at a table, rather on the arm of the chair or our laps.
When there are many guests, we take out many tables and eat outside with a full buffet table. I guess the buffet style is just more space and material efficient, but I thought I should clarify that we eat both lunch and dinner buffet style each day.
Even at the mzungu gatherings we go buffet style

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