Eating and Serving Habits

Pooja - Wichita, Kansas
Entered on December 10, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I have always forced my friends to eat something whenever they come to my house, it’s just a habit, something I never really thought about. Before they walk in the door they tell me that they are not hungry and they will not be able to eat anything. It doesn’t matter; they always end up eating before they leave even if I have to force them. It never occurred to me that I should question this belief that I just blindly followed after seeing my parent offer food to their guests year after year.

My parents were born in India, but came here when they were around twenty years old. They quickly adapted to American ideals, but like every Indian they have those little traditions that they still follow to this day. The one most commonly associated with that my mother does not let anyone, even if they only come for five minutes, to leave the house without eating. I never realized that it was strange for every person who came into our house to be offered food until I was much older, but by then it was a habit, I also offered anyone some sort of food, and even if they refused at first, they never left the house without eating something. I never realized when it changed into something that I believe in, that I believed that it would be bad luck to not offer someone food from your home and even more bad luck for them not to accept it.

It is a very odd tradition in which everyone is offered food and almost forced to take it. Many of my friends find it very funny that when my mother keeps offering food to them and no matter how times they refuse, they end up eating something. Another reason that I belief in not letting anyone leave my house without eating is because it is also considered very rude to not offer a guest food even if that guest stops by for only a couple of minutes. I never found it strange that we insist on people eating before they leave our house because in India, this custom is a form of respect given to strangers or family members by basically forcing them to eat. Moving to America, my parents taught me their culture by following the little traditions that I could see every day. These played a big role in how I began to view many things including some beliefs that I have.

This belief that I have has come through watching my mother and father for years, seeing them offer food and a place to stay everyday to anyone who has stopped by. I may not have completely understood it when I began following this belief, but it is something that I belief in with my whole heart.