Dastarkhan: what is it and how is it covered?
What is it - dastarkhan? People who have never been to Kazakhstan and Central Asia do not know the local oriental hospitality. But any Kazakh respecting himself not only considers it his duty to tell a visiting traveler, but also to show what dastarkhan is. Let us and we take a closer look at this concept.
Dastarkhan - what is it? This concept was originally called the table of the Eastern peoples. Usually it has a square, rarely round shape. Its height is 30 cm. It is clear that you can only sit in Turkish at such a table. But the floors are not warm everywhere. People solved this problem by sitting down themselves and putting guests on soft warm carpets or on a felt board. But since most of the year in the east is warm, the meals were often held outside. There they collected tables and equipped special platforms for both food and dancing.
It may seem strange to many that the dastarkhan table in the East is used only for one purpose - for food.And they do nothing more for him. Knit, read and do the lessons need somewhere away from the dastarkhan. It helps to avoid annoying oversight that the table often folds immediately after a meal.
Over time, the definition has changed a bit. What does dastarkhan mean today? This word means the meal itself, and not just the table on which it is held. Dastarkhan can be family, and can be collected on the occasion of the reception of guests. Such feasts are often arranged by neighbors in honor of each other, when one family helps the other with something.
A little about tablecloths
What is it - dastarkhan, we have already figured out. This can be a table and the feast itself. But often dastarkhan is also a tablecloth covered with food. Why did she get that name? It is believed that this is similar to our self-dressing tablecloth. After all, dastarkhan is never covered with one or two dishes. On the table usually put on 4-5 interchangeable dishes.
Dastarkhan, according to Kazakh traditions, should be white. Tablecloth symbolizes the pure intentions of the owner of the house. However, it can be decorated with embroidery, which the wife of the head of the family personally applied.
We have found out what dastarkhan is, and now let's see how the table is served by the Kazakhs. Europeans may be surprised that in Eastern culture it is not customary to use napkins, and neither paper nor linen. Although today, paying tribute to fashion, many people, especially cafe owners, give guests napkins. Snacks are not on the table. Treats are arranged by sector. In one of them you can take sweets, in the other meat, in the third side dish, etc. Snacks can be decorated and served only in the best possible way. That is, no one in Central Asia can take out meat without decorating it with pre-spicy grass. Of the meats, incredible ornaments are often laid out. The plates, by the way, also have their name. Oriental people christened their tobacco. They are small and large. The shape of the tobacco is similar to semicircles, which symbolize the moon and the sun.
Time for food Eastern people do not regret. Dastarkhan always starts with tea. And this drink remains on the table throughout the feast. People are always free to choose what they drink - wine or tea. Sweet treats are served as an aperitif.It seems strange, but Oriental people are used to eating dessert, not only after, but before eating.
What is dastarkhan is a festive feast. In Kazakhstan, it is usually marked by killing and roasting a ram. But the head of the animal is usually presented to the main guest, who is sitting at the table. If not, then it is given to the eldest member of the family. Such a festive treat is shared with all those gathered at the table. Moreover, parts of this head are issued according to strictly established hierarchy. Just following it, the sheep meat is also divided. The national dish of oriental cuisine are flat cakes, which are used here instead of bread. They are prepared in each family according to their own recipe, but most often there are those that include onions.
Meals are always accompanied by active drinking songs. In them, the guests and all those gathered at the table thank the host for his hospitality and the hostess for the delicious snacks.
Traditions are alive today
We have dismantled the meaning of the word "dastarkhan", it remains to be seen whether residents of the East spend holiday celebrations to this day or is it a relic of the past. Well, of course, spend. Especially chic dastarkhan arranged in the villages on the occasion of holidays.They are being prepared by the whole village. People all together cook on a huge bonfire pilaf, and each hostess brings to the glade his own dish, some tortillas, some pasties, some dry fruits.
Many are surprised that, despite all the love of the Kazakhs to dastarkhan, few of them are obese. This is explained by the fact that people here eat healthy food, and the percentage of freeze-dried foods here is incredibly small. And the form helps to keep the physical work and fresh air. Although many say that the key to success is to be found in tea made from herbs.