After each meal, those at the table say thank you to those they have enjoyed the meal and company with. I think that's such a neat practice. I know for me in my home growing up everyone ate their meals and then were off to the next activity. Additionally, each person serves themselves here in the United States. In Peru, those who prepare the meal serve up each plate and place them in front of the individual. When you are finishing up, you are asked if you want seconds, and if so, those are served to you as well (but trust me, you're given enough the first time and never need to ask for more). No one is expected to make their own plate. Every meal is an offering to those eating, if you will. There is additional generosity behind the food, behind the massive quantities given (especially to guests); the sharing that takes place. Meals are enjoyed, company is enjoyed, and these important rituals, more often than not known to us as humdrum in the states, in Peru seldom take less than two hours.
Food is such an interesting gateway into culture. More than the actual sustenance, but the customs that go along with it all.
|Ceviche & chica morada. My host dad in Lima is a chef! His food was delicious.|