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Etiquette:

(Please bear in mind that these rules are an amalgamation of medieval Arab treatises supplemented with modern Moroccan practices.)

  • When entering the feast hall, please leave your shoes at the door. If you have socks, feel free to wear them indoors, and soft inner shoes may also be worn.

  • Washing is very important - clean your hands before every meal, usually with rose or orange scented water. You may also clean your teeth.

  • The host will announce ‘Bismillah’ (the name of Allah), and everyone should echo his salutation. Then eating commences.

  • Eating with your hands is a time-honoured tradition. Rule number one: eat with your right hand only, using the thumb and first two fingers. Using more is a sign of gluttony. The left hand may only be used for picking up bread or passing dishes on to other people.

  • Use the bread to mop up sauces and clean your plate, in lieu of utensils.

  • Do not lick your fingers until the end of the meal. In the meantime wipe them on the bread or a napkin, if you must.

  • Eat slowly, chew thoroughly. Don't be the first to reach for the food if there are older people present. Don't touch food that is in front of others. Don't gather all the food close to your own plate. Despite how hungry you may be, eat in accordance with others. If they eat little, you do the same.

  • Enjoy your food and make sure the hosts know that you appreciate their time and effort.

  • While eating, don't soil your face and clothes. Don't open your mouth too wide. Don't study the dishes too closely, and don't smell them when choosing what to eat. Don't stare at the other guests while they are eating.

  • If there are tasty or rare dishes, don't eat all of them; kindly invite your table companions to share these dishes as well.

  • Don't reach to take dishes from the other corner of the tablespread. Don't spit food out onto the plate or tablecloth. If you find a bone or hair in your dish, remove it inconspicuously so you don't ruin anyone else's appetite. Don't use a toothpick when you are eating with other people.

  • If you are full, continue nibbling. If you stop the rest of the table will follow suit.

  • After eating, wash your hands, mouth, lips and teeth and carefully clean under your fingernails. Then dry your face and hands with a towel.