Two healths! Sahtein!

You know, for a people who are so intent on you trying (and loving!) their cuisine, Jordanians are remarkably reluctant to try any of yours.

Don't get me wrong: I love Arabic food. The few dishes I don't like (tabbouleh and yolanji, I'm looking at you), I don't like for legitimate reasons. That means I've tried them in good faith but ended up honestly not enjoying them. The first one is just too parsley-ey and the second is just too vinegary for my taste.

But if you're ever a guest in an Arab home, do not make the mistake of refusing a certain food - even if you already know you don't like it. Because the hostess will assure you that that's just because you've never had her tabbouleh, or yolanji. And if she is to be believed, you will love her version of the dish. It's better to just accept a portion of whatever you detest and then not eat it. Later, you can claim that everything else was so good that you didn't have room for the [whatever].

Forgive me for being blunt, but surely we can all be allowed the privilege of not eating foods we hate.

Like I said, for a people who are so excited about the trying of new foods, Jordanians seem strangely reluctant to travel that road themselves. Our landlady and her son were over at our house the other day. Because we wanted to be hospitable hosts, we made sure to offer them a beverage and some cookies.

In the end, our offer of beverage was accepted only reluctantly by our landlady, and the cookies by neither of them. These weren't your average cookies, either - they were McVitie's Chocolate Caramel Digestives. And yet neither our landlady nor her son could be prevailed upon to have any. Which makes me wonder how they manage to refuse so successfully - I don't think I've ever successfully refused an item of food or drink while at a friend's house in Jordan.

Perhaps I should give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they've tried McVitie's Chocolate Caramel Digestives in good faith and ended up hating them.

If only they'd extend the same courtesy to me for tabbouleh and yolanji...


The politics of children