Imagine diverse cuisines delivered to you in the utmost preparation, with the only expectation being that you willingly accept them. To many, this may seem like an occasional occurrence, but as a guest within Arab culture it is a typical routine. Negative stereotypes are commonly placed upon people in the Middle East and more specifically to those within an Arab society. While most of these stereotypes are uninformed assumptions, the idea that visitors are highly respected and valued, can be proven. Dining is the most significant form of interaction. The focus is solely on the guest, and their level of comfort and satisfaction. If you were not full after the first course, you can expect to be more than full after the second. While saying no is a respectable answer in many countries, any offerings should not be turned down as it is a sign of disrespect within an Arab society. How well a guest is treated is a reflection on who that person is. It is typical for an Arab host to feel unsatisfied if you have not overly indulged yourself in every aspect of their socialization. While this could have the power to make a visitor feel slightly uncomfortable, their openness and gratitude to treat people well is a sign of high regards, and should be reciprocated.
In Arab culture, dishes consisting of meats, rice, and vegetables are likely to appear on your plate during a dinner affair. While these are also common elements in many meals in the United States, there are some instances when they might taste quite different, or slightly unrecognizable. Many spices, sauces, and other variations are added to meals to uniquely fit each region, creating a different flair for all courses.
The stereotypes placed among Arabs are unfairly projected, and create a false image for a culture that deserves more than the labels they are given. The “terrorist” that was taken for questioning based on only assumed pretenses, would take you into their home and ravish you in a divine nature, with the curiosity to understand your culture while embracing every aspect of it. The “barbaric” stigma that is attached to the Arab culture, is also false. Loyalty, dignity, and wisdom are traditional values that are highly respected, and practiced. While the rest of the world is painting pictures of an unrealistic Arab lifestyle, ours as Americans is being explored with intriguing curiosity and astonishment. Why is this? Westerners live in a way that is entirely different than their own, and they are driven by their awe of wonder, to understand these differences. While numerous questions are asked, and the line of privacy is often crossed, it is always out of good intentions, and natural spirit of inquiry. Attending a dinner happening in an Arab household is an event that can be seen as a learning process for both them, and the guest as well.