Eating Tradition at Visitor’s Home

Context & Background: 

KR – informant and friend from college of the collector. They share the same ethnicity and often talk about the similarities in their lives. SD – collector

Performance: (via face time)

KR: Another one of these is that if you are at someone else’s house, you have to eat the food you say or they say the name of the food. 

SD: What?

KR: It’s kind of extreme. But you have to be respectful to the people you are visiting, so if they offer you something, you have to eat it at least a little bit. Maybe even a nibble, but you gotta do it.

SD: Okay, I feel like this can put you in some tricky situation, huh? (laughs)

KR: Well if you think about it that way, then yes, but most times the people are old aunties and uncles, and they don’t abuse this power. It’s mostly with chai (tea) and mithai (sweets). But now that I think about it, it could be really easy to abuse this if we both believe in the rule. (smirks and laughs)

SD: laughs. 


This belief goes with the duty to respect older people and the wishes of the people we are visiting. Indian society has a pretty strict hierarchical structure, and so to be respectful to your elders is very important to be considered obedient. From the tone of the conversation, it seemed like it wasn’t a big deal anymore, and the strictness of this belief has been worn away. KR is from Gujrat, a state in India known to be big on food, and maybe that’s why this belief is a big part of his culture.