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Feast on the Floor

Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
A couple years ago I stayed in a Chinatown hotel that was run by a Pakistani family. Once I glanced into an adjacent room, and I noticed that all the beds (all eight of them) were moved away, and several people (eighteen or something) were sitting on the floor, eating. By which act, by the way, they broke two commandments that were hanging on the second floor:

1) don't cook in the rooms;
2) don't feed the flies -- it's administration's responsibility.

This made me think. Definitely eating sitting on the ground made a lot of sense for nomadic people -- one doesn�t need to carry a table with him all the time, any simple rug will do. But how come is it convenient, that up to now people who don't look that much nomadic still prefer to eat sitting on the floor? Isn't a table more convenient? Or is it simply a mater of habit?

I didn't do much floor eating in my life, so it's hard for me to compare. If some of you did, could you share with us what the advantages are?


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Akhilesh Trivedi
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Joined: Jun 22, 2005
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I am indian, I have no choices, i normally take food on table and chair but when with family we prefer sitting on the floor. A single plate being shared by 2-3 people, sitting in circle.


If some of you did, could you share with us what the advantages are?


It only increases love and affection.


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Devesh H Rao
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Joined: Feb 09, 2002
Posts: 687

Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:


This made me think. Definitely eating sitting on the ground made a lot of sense for nomadic people --


Ahhh good old sweet childhood....

We use tables at home.. but I also remember my childhood where my granny used to round me up and my cousins around her. She on a chair with a plate of food in her hand. We cousins at her feet. She used to hand out food one by one to all of us kids and tell us stories to go along with it.

If any one is knows kannada language will know the above as "Kai Tuttu" which translates to feed by hand maybe.

It was a good way to feed some of us truant kids and also imbibe a sense of family maybe or for whatever reason.
Devesh H Rao
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Joined: Feb 09, 2002
Posts: 687

Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Isn't a table more convenient?


And yes... sorry forgot to add, South Asian countries more or less used to or in some parts still have the tradition of joint families. i.e more than one family staying together. As in brothers, parents, aunts uncles..so on and so forth. I guess a table to accomodate numbers would be an issue ..

But I guess that is more in the past, we see a lot of nuclear families in the cities today and with it the table culture... now that no more than 3-4 people eat together.
Arun Kumarr
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Joined: May 16, 2005
Posts: 513

Love and affection can be felt even when you are on the chair. Let me give the perception which my grandfather(A Yoga Guru) gave me.
Whenever you eat, the ratio should be 50% food, 25% water and 25% empty.
When you sit down and eat the posture you eat makes sure that your tummy is under the pressure of your torso and you eat only less (probably 50%) and feel full. The moment you finish and get up your food gets adjusted to the entire space.
He has also told me,"People run to all places to decrease the flab around their waists, when they can actually sit straight wherever possible which actually decreases the flabs around their waists."

see this asana
[ August 10, 2007: Message edited by: Arun Kumarr ]

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Akhilesh Trivedi
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Joined: Jun 22, 2005
Posts: 1527
Originally posted by Devesh H Rao:

If any one is knows kannada language will know the above as "Kai Tuttu" which translates to feed by hand maybe.


I dont know kannada, but I have observed little different childhood culture in south-india, especially andhra and tamilnadu... where mother holds the plate of rice and the 2-4 year old kid is left on its comfort. The kid being playful, keeps roaming, playing and sometimes goes out on streets, the mother follows him with the bowl in hand, she sometimes sings or calls him by lovely names, sort of "come and eat my child... please come".

PS: In residential areas the streets are almost on no traffic.
Devesh H Rao
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Originally posted by Akhilesh Trivedi:

The kid being playful, keeps roaming, playing and sometimes goes out on streets, the mother follows him with the bowl in hand, she sometimes sings or calls him by lovely names, sort of "come and eat my child... please come".




That's a scene straight out of my childhood. Mum still does not let me forget the fact that to feed me she had to make sure she had extra helpings as I used to run off to a neighbours place to play and she would be embarassed to go there and just feed me, so it was like a bit of food for me and a bit for me childhood friend ...

So there you see Map.. No tables.... No floors either...its literally fast food on the run
Paul Clapham
Bartender

Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 18570
    
    8

Well, here in Vancouver the local Sikh community got into a serious conflict about whether it was acceptable to eat at a table or not and I believe there was a split that resulted in the creation of new temples. Here is a link with some background information.
Devesh H Rao
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Originally posted by Paul Clapham:
Well, here in Vancouver the local Sikh community got into a serious conflict about whether it was acceptable to eat at a table or not and I believe there was a split that resulted in the creation of new temples. Here is a link with some background information.


The reason as specified in the article is kind of valid as well if we consider the practise of eating on the floor in religious places. The thinking being all are equal before god and everyone irrespective of the social status has to sit on the floor to eat the meal served. This is a practise followed in some of the temples even to this day.
R K Singh
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Joined: Oct 15, 2001
Posts: 5371
We always had Dining Table at our home, but it would be used only when guest would come.

I still prefer to have food on floor unless and untill I am in some party or in restaurant.

I still cant find use of fork and kinfe for Indian food specially how to eat Roti with fork and knife.

I cant find any good reason rather than in join families it is difficult to arrange table for 20-30 people everyday.

other reason what my father used to tell me that posture while eating food at floor is good for health (you sit with both leg folded and crossed).

Before I come to urban sitting on floor, in villages first you are suppose to sprinkle some water around your Thali(plate). I think it was to suppress the dust.
At my home, person would take out some food from its plate for animals(specially cow/buffalo)

In cities specially people eat on Chatai(mat).

I also feel that one feels more lovingness in sitting together on floor and having meal.

Map, can you have meal at Banana leave ?
[ August 11, 2007: Message edited by: R K Singh ]

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Akhilesh Trivedi
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Joined: Jun 22, 2005
Posts: 1527
Hey guys, what do you call 'paalki lagaa ke baithna' in english, the way you sit on the floor while eating, i know its not 'squat' and neither it is 'crouch'.
Rahul Bhattacharjee
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Joined: Nov 29, 2005
Posts: 2308
In North East India , where my village is located (Silchar).We still take food sitting in ground.So no choice to me when I go there for vacation.

Though we can afford a table , but its a tradition that we are still following.
Do not know the reason why ?


Rahul Bhattacharjee
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Aryan Khan
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Joined: Sep 12, 2004
Posts: 290

In Islamic tradition it is a bit different. You have a very low to ground table and you still set on the floor.
I feel comfortable setting on the floor if at home or with close friends. In other occassions it is difficult to implement. In the middle east it is still very common and great fun !!!



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Ben Souther
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Joined: Dec 11, 2004
Posts: 13410

Originally posted by Aryan Khan:
In Islamic tradition it is a bit different. You have a very low to ground table and you still set on the floor.
I feel comfortable setting on the floor if at home or with close friends. In other occassions it is difficult to implement. In the middle east it is still very common and great fun !!!



Umm....
What is that?


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Rahul Bhattacharjee
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Joined: Nov 29, 2005
Posts: 2308
Originally posted by Ben Souther:


Umm....
What is that?


Community Biryani feast in Dubai.

Biryani =-> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biryani
Ben Souther
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 11, 2004
Posts: 13410

Thanks.
On the bottom left of the vat, are those ribs?
Rahul Bhattacharjee
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Joined: Nov 29, 2005
Posts: 2308
Originally posted by Ben Souther:
Thanks.
On the bottom left of the vat, are those ribs?


I guess those are ribs of calf.
Akhilesh Trivedi
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Joined: Jun 22, 2005
Posts: 1527
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaw! That looks like a big, not big, very big, not very big... huge, not huge very huge, oh ho..not very huge... mega-mega lunch! !!!

:roll:
Vivian Josh
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Joined: Oct 31, 2006
Posts: 112
Floor eating is very common tradition in India.

It is good practice as we can accommodate more people at the same time and all can enjoy their meal at the same time. Usually homes are very small and you can not make 10-12 people sit on a table of 4-6. So when we have guests visiting us, we all sit down on carpet and have our food and few people serve us. It's good get-together meal.

Another advantage of seating on floor is exercise. Its a good knee exercise. Those who never sit on floor can not bent there knees when they get old. So we are tought since our childhood that you should have practice seating on floor with our legs fold. In many kitchens all food preparation is also done on floor.. like cutting vegetables, cooking in big vessels etc. It is also very easy to clean the floor as we generally have tiles and other kind of flooring which can be easily cleaned with water.

I think those are the reasons behind that tradition.

-Vivian
Aryan Khan
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Joined: Sep 12, 2004
Posts: 290

Originally posted by Ben Souther:
Thanks.
On the bottom left of the vat, are those ribs?


Yes Those are ribs...
Aryan Khan
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Joined: Sep 12, 2004
Posts: 290

Originally posted by Rahul Bhattacharjee:


Community Biryani feast in Dubai.

Biryani =-> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biryani


It is not really Biryani...It is called Kabsa ma Laham (Kabsa with meat)...--
Rahul Bhattacharjee
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Joined: Nov 29, 2005
Posts: 2308
Originally posted by Aryan Khan:


It is not really Biryani...It is called Kabsa ma Laham (Kabsa with meat)...--


Oh ! Ok..I got this picture in one of the email forwards.
Have you tasted it ?
Aryan Khan
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Joined: Sep 12, 2004
Posts: 290

Yes and it tastes great...
Normally kabsa meals are very heavy. As drink Laasi (Whey) is used.
I do not eat it during business days..because you simply cannot go back to office --
Ashok Mash
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Joined: Oct 13, 2000
Posts: 1936
On that photo - thats just mad!! One set of people around that container (?) couldn't possibly finish that much, could they? And how are they going to reach all that food in the middle of the container?!


[ flickr ]
Rahul Bhattacharjee
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Joined: Nov 29, 2005
Posts: 2308
Originally posted by Ashok Mash:
On that photo - thats just mad!! One set of people around that container (?) couldn't possibly finish that much, could they? And how are they going to reach all that food in the middle of the container?!


I guess that there should be equally huge spoons to get the stuffs from the middle of the container.
Aryan Khan
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Joined: Sep 12, 2004
Posts: 290

Ok now...that is not normal....this was a part of some event and record
making stuff. For question who can finish it ....will extend invitation to Ranchers --
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2000
Posts: 10065
You guys made me jealous. Now I want to try it!

Ravish: Map, can you have meal at Banana leave ?

Hm, I tried some meal wrapped in banana leaves, but "at" banana leaves... Can you do that? Sounds like a perfect alternative to all these paper, or worse, plastic plates used in the US. Only imagine, 100% ecologically clean plates, and no oil is burnt to produce them!
R K Singh
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Joined: Oct 15, 2001
Posts: 5371
Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Can you do that?


Come Bangalore or visit any south indian city, you will get your meal at banana leave in say 50-60% restaurants which serves authentic south indian food

In north India though banana leave is not used as plate but there is another plant(I am not able to recollect the name of plant) whose leaves are used as plate. unfortunately not in restaurants but mostly in marriages and festivals where large number of people are served food at same.

Sounds like a perfect alternative to all these paper, or worse, plastic plates used in the US. Only imagine, 100% ecologically clean plates, and no oil is burnt to produce them!
I also feel the same way

just got one image.


It is said here that banana is the tree whose each part is used by human.
[ August 20, 2007: Message edited by: R K Singh ]
Sameer Jamal
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Joined: Feb 16, 2001
Posts: 1870
In Old Delhi still there are some restaurant which don't have tables and chairs, people sit in the floor and these are the restaurants where I've taken one of the most delicious food.
[ August 20, 2007: Message edited by: Sameer Jamal ]
Avi Khandelwal
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Joined: Aug 17, 2007
Posts: 14
I am from central part of India and we have dishes like ""Dal-Baati"and "dal-paniya". I cannot imagine having this dishes on dining table. We use to sit on floor, the dished are served in "pattal" (plates made by peepal leaves).

I like dal-baati speacially the dal made with "Urad" and Green Chutney and raw onion served with it.
 
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