FEASTING IN JORDAN
Rich Jordanian food coupled with famous Jordanian hospitality creates an atmosphere of festivities each time a meal is served.
Feasting is a preoccupation not only of Jordan, but of the Middle East as a whole.
Mealtime in Jordan is not merely a biological function, but rather a social event. Jordanians are generally grouped during mealtime and are presented with food in a collective manner.
Food is a very important aspect within the Jordanian culture. In most villages, meals are a community event with the immediate and extended family present. In addition, food is commonly used by Jordanians to express their hospitality and generosity. Jordanians by nature are very hospital people and, often, it is presented within minutes of a person's invitation to a local house.
It is with pride that Jordanians serve family, friends, and guests in their homes; no matter how modest their means.
A 'Jordanian invitation' means that you are expected to bring nothing and eat everything. This invitation is followed by the popular Arabic phrase “Sahtain wa 'Afiya.”
Of course, when we discuss Jordanian food, we have to mention- at length- the most distinctive Jordanian dish, Mansaf.
Mansaf is the national dish of Jordan which often symbolizes an occasion. It consists of Arabic rice, a rich broth made from dry sour milk (jameed), and either lamb or chicken. Whether Jordanians are celebrating a graduation, an engagement, or a wedding, Mansaf is commonly served. In addition, Mansaf is also served during condolences and as a means to patch up ties with others.
Feasting on Mansaf is taken seriously, and hours are spent in its preparations.
Mansaf on the menu is the greatest symbol in Jordanian culture for generosity. The level of generosity is determined by the amount of lamb presented. Utensils are not commonly used when eating Mansaf.
Guests feast from the communal dish using their hands, due to the fact that it symbolizes a social community gathering. The grand presentation is placed in the middle of the dining setting.
Another delicacy that is popular in Jordan is stuffed baby lamb. It consists of roasted lamb, stuffed with rice, chopped onions, nuts and raisins.
There is also Al-Zarb, the name given to an oven that is dug one metre deep into the ground, about 60cm in diameter, and coated with bricks while the bottom is left as is. It is also the name of the lamb dish cooked in this oven.
No matter what your preference, Jordanian cuisine will most definitely offer you something to please your taste buds.