Subject Code: EGYPT10012
Tutor: Egyptian Mummy
Today’s Lecture: Dining Etiquette
[Egyptian] Mummy has prepared some hot, fresh, ‘Ful Medames’ for dinner – come along and sit on the floor, just around the mat!
NO! Stop staring at another person’s food, do you not know how rude that is! Okay, okay, this rule known as the ‘evil eye’ is a little old-fashioned, but many of these Ancient Egypt table manners are still assumed in modern day. Though, I’d probably allow you to take a cheeky look at my mediocre meal.
Other cultures use any excuse to waste our natural resources on ‘knives’ and ‘forks’ – tonight we’ll be using our hands and fingers. After each course, feel free to rinse them with some water to rid the remains of the last dish. We do not wash our fingers in a shared bowl of water – our ancestors got ill doing that!
Left over food? The goat is just outside.
Having practised traditional ‘etiquette’ for most of your life, this lack of familiarity may be difficult to adapt to. None of this is major, but you’ll notice that lots of little changes can piece together into a large culture shock. Although not life threatening, the pressure to conform and deflect the uncomfortable stares may loom. At worst, you face sheer embarrassment to the point of leaving; at best, you are ignored through out our meal.
Travel Tip: sit back and let the others lead proceedings. Observe, learn, adjust, and finally – this culture shock will transition you into the life of the dinner party!
Your ‘funky’ way of eating is just as surprising to us Egyptians as ours will be to you, so at least you are not alone. Well.. Actually.. If you stare at my food again, you may well find yourself eating alone.