Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tales from the Tarmac: Differences in Dining Habits Observed in Oman

My family back in [insert country of OPNO's passport] liked to [some of the time] set the table for dinner.
I am talking the following ecroutment requirements: table cloth, table runner, cloth napkins, placecards, plate chargers, dinner plate, soup bowl, bread plate, desert plate, salad fork, dinner fork, desert fork, dinner knife, teaspoon, dinner spoon, water goblet, red wine glass, white wine glass [even if you are not drinking wine], [and/or champagne flute], + the service trays.

Not to mention candles, and floral arrangements. Find room for the food on that table, I dare you! http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_f92HEOB-IsE/SdJSl2jF0NI/AAAAAAAAFjA/ezumQ9KCbhc/s400/Artfool+-+MSW.jpg

That's why we also have buffets, a seperate peice of furniture to house and present the food, and store it while we eat in courses http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_f92HEOB-IsE/SSN6rd4k5SI/AAAAAAAAC_U/CON8_qolYxM/s400/MS+BAT+3.jpg.

Doing dishes was a nightmare. You see, we don't have maids back home. Well, Boxie did, but that explains why she is still so messy;p.

As was trying to spare certain friends with a less European background which fork to use for what http://www.acornadvisors.com/Kitchen%20Newsletters/2007-09-06%20Setting_the_Table/Placesetting-Diagrams.jpg. Like that scene in "Pretty Woman" where the hotel man is trying to teach prostitute turned escort Julia Roberts how to eat for a night out at a posh restaraunt http://mrjam.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/julia_roberts.jpg. BTW, they play that movie on repeat waaaaaaaaaaaay too much here in Oman.

Anyways, I want to relate to you all, because I have nothing better to write about today, about the time I went to the trouble to throw myself a housewarming party and invited some players from the Oman handball team (I won't tell you which one;)).

I cooked/prepared 4 courses. Appetizers. A salad. Main course. Desert.

I set the buffet (a crappy plastic table covered in a lovely table cloth and well-disguised).

I set the table. Table cloth. Table runner. Plate chargers. Cloth napkins folded with personalized name cards for the settings and napkin rings. Plates. Silverware. Glasses, for our non-alcoholic beverages. Glasses for water. Floral arrangment with floating candles. Very pretty.

Ready for the guests!

My guests, all Omani (most from Seeb, Mubela, and Al Khoud), arrived.

Replay of the proceedings:

The portions (since they were not served together in a heap) were at first regarded as small. Most of the service was disregarded. Cloth napkins were replaced quickly by the ever present kleenex, an Oman essential, and hands replaced the many forms of utensils available.

It was fun, but a TOTAL waste of my effort.

I have learnt my lesson.

As they say.

When in Rome...

[Note: for my Omani friends who are GIRLS, this wouldn't apply. They eat in restaurants in Qurum more than at coffee shops and mishkeek stalls so lol]

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