This is one thing that I love about my desert home. People eat with their hand! (Yes, not plural. You only use your right hand). I’m a big fan. One of my friends who teaches here the other day was sharing about how one of her students, a boy of about 9 or so, was talking with her about the use of silverware. He spoke quite passionately (as locals often do) saying, “I don’t understand why you use it! It makes eating not….not relaxing!” I would have to agree that it does make eating easier. No clanging silverware, no fussy knives, you can easily scoop up the last bits with your fingers.
Most meals are served in a big bowl on a large round tray surrounded by bread, and sometimes some cut up raw onion, shatta (fresh chili sauce), or other veggies. You tear off a bite sized piece of bread with your right hand and scoop up the stew/fuul/whatever and pop it on in. It is a very communal way of eating and it really does cut back on clean up. No plates or silverware to wash. Most little restaurants that you go to don’t even have silverware at all. Many do–those that are right in town and more expensive and cater to foreign customers. The other day I was having lunch with two friends from other countries. We all started out with the silverware, but without realizing it, by the end we were all using our hands. Love it.