Picture this: You sit in a beautiful restaurant with a companion. The menu brims full of delicious sounding dishes and after careful deliberation you pick one. Your friend picked a different one that sounds equally as amazing.
The food arrives and after a few mouthfuls of your dish you are ready to try out your friend’s, except they are unwilling to give you a bite.
For me, this is the most off-putting thing anyone could do to me, closely followed by eating with the mouth open.
I come from a family and culture where food sharing is important and an integral part. I closely associate food with companionship so that when I was single and lived in an unsociable house, I barely cooked for myself.
There is absolutely nothing better than sharing a meal with someone and a lot of cuisines reflect this attitude. Here is a list of countries where they take their sharing seriously:
Tapas is probably one of the more obvious ones; perfect for greedy people like me who want to try out everything. Tons and tons of different food is cooked and served in small dishes for the purpose of sharing. Everyone can have a little bit of everything and get extremely full. The Spanish love their food sharing.
Paella is also usually served to be shared between two or more people, especially the giant paella!
Not much is probably known about Ethiopian food but don’t be fooled, their cuisine is rich in spices and nutrients. Often a stew called wat is cooked and is eaten with flatbreads and meat. There may be a variety of wats and a whole lot of dishes are vegan too.
Ethiopians eat with their right hand, similar to Indians. The main dishes are put in the middle and shared.
This represents a bonding between those sharing.
The traditional table setting consists of a stew or soup in the middle for everyone and a lot of side dishes called banchan. Those are most of the time cold and can be meat or vegetarian. The variety is endless and they bring the flavour to the rice. Each person has their own rice bowl but shares everything else.
Traditionally, the eldest at the table will start eating with everyone following suit.
Sharing and eating food is a central part of Korean culture.
In Britain, a roast is probably the closest to a shared meal, one piece of meat is cooked and divided between the diners.
Can you think of any other cuisines where sharing is a central key?
Image via Dane Brian