Omelette made with hard boiled eggs, potatoes, tomato and cumin
The Middle East was the site of many great ancient civilizations. Over the millennia, the spread of different cultures has played a big part in the culinary development of the region. Middle Eastern dishes are traditionally influenced by the Arab culture of hospitality and generosity, the historical spices trade, social customs and what produces are locally available.
During the month Ramadan fasting in the Islamic calendar, usually falling in mid-summer or when the crescent moon is sighted (ninth month). Muslims fast from dawn until sunset. Traditional foods eaten at sufoor (dawn) and after iftar (sunset) are light meals containing breads and grains, low-fat dairy products, fruits, halal meats, legumes and fresh vegetables. Dates usually break the fast at sunset, after which can follow appetizers, desserts, entrees, juice, salads and water. Some of the typical foods consist of chicken or lamb with rice and vegetables, along with sticky pastries and nuts.
Middle Eastern recipes tend to be uncomplicated, yet distinctive there is a huge variety of recipes, that can be nutritious, appealing and enjoyable to bring together family, friends and guests. Meals are often taken in a communal fashion with people choosing food from a large plate in the center of a table. Instead of using utensils pita bread is frequently used to scoop food up for consumption.
People can use their fingers to eat although the right hand is often used rather than the left as the left hand is considered unclean in some Arab cultures. However, the left hand can be used to hold a drinking glass when greasy food is offered. It is considered the height of bad manners not to try every dish offered and the host must always be complimented on their hospitality.