Eat Their Food

“For the most part, food plays a very functional role in American culture. We eat to work. If Aini was visiting in my home, I’d tell her, “Don’t eat anything you don’t like. We don’t care.” And we really wouldn’t for the most part. But in many parts of the world, food is deeply rooted in the life of people. Sometimes I’ve had Indian hosts prepare meals for me that used spices grown on their homestead for hundreds of years. The best Indian meals take days to prepare. So to pass on eating dishes prepared for you in that context could be far more insulting than passing on a dish you just don’t care for. It can be seen as an all-out rejection. And as for eating with utensils versus eating with our hands, one of my Indian friends puts it this way: “Eating with utensils is like making love through an interpreter!” That says it all when it comes to the affection most Indians have for their cuisine. To reject the food of an Indian colleague can be extremely disrespectful and can erode any possibility of a business partnership. Who would have thought food could play such a strong role in successful global performance?”

 

“In most cultures, eating together has far more symbolic value than simply “grabbing a bite to eat.” Sharing a meal together can often be viewed as a sacred event.”

Leading with Cultural Intelligence: The New Secret to Success
by David Livermore

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