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Ta-arof
By Ramtin C (on 12/13/2008 @ 17:13:58, in Main, read 123424 times)
Bokhor Baba, The Persian food goes hand in hand with show of love, respect and hospitality. Exhibit A: Ta-arof, a word dedicated to the Persian tradition of almost force feeding your guests, loved ones and even the annoying neighbor you don’t really like. Ta-arof takes many forms and here I present you with “The Persian Directory of Ta-arof related to food” 1) Bo-khor baba: the old fashion, khodemoni, and very effective insistence. This is when your host keeps on insisting that you eat more. Excuses like: “I am full,” “Oh, we just ate a full meal,” “I’m allergic,” “I’m on a diet” are rarely effective. You have to remember that the art of Ta-arof has deep roots in Persian culture. Traditionally the the ta-arofee always wins. I only know of one phrase that has occasionally worked and that is “I am fasting.” 2) The sneak attack: deadly and proven. This is why you have to be very alert at the table. Your ta-arof-inclined host is always watching for the opportunity to fill your empty, half empty or even full plate with more food. DO NOT underestimate the skill or the dedication of your Persian host in employing the sneak attack. This method relies on notion that polite and gracious guest will disrespect his or her host by not eating the food that’s on your plate. You may try to combat this method (although very often in vain) by eating slow, sitting away from your host, distracting your host by asking about the recipe, Persian food and culture. The tactic that I think works the best (at least 13% of the time) is putting non-edible items such as dirty napkins on your plate. However, most Persian host will not hesitate bringing you a new plate. 3) The Guilt Trip: although mostly a Jewish-Persian phenomena, guilting someone into eating is not uncommon in parts of Iran. Your host may say things like: “but I search multiple iranian recipe sites for this” or “I thought persian food was your favorite.” Ta-arof is not limited to eating. Other forms include A) Ta-arof at the door: e.g. agha be-farma, na shoma be-farma B) Ta-arof at the store: e.g. ghabeleh shom-ro nadarah C) Reverse Ta-arof: for example at the table when you are hungry but you refuse offer of a second serving at first. D) Ta-arof at invitation: it is often considered polite to refuse an invitation at first and extend your own invitation instead. e.g. – would love to have you over Friday night, - oh no, you should come to our house Friday night.