Hand and hand with the idea of no plates is the idea of triangle etiquette. Since everyone eats from the same community dish there are rules governing what food belongs in whose territory. Everyone has their triangle of the dish, which is theirs from the moment the dish is set upon the table. To eat from another person’s triangle, with or without their permission, is taboo.
At the dinner table the woman sets down the meal. ‘In the name of God’ everyone says and begins to dig in following their host. Though there is meat in your triangle, you know not to touch it until your host has touched his. So you eat, and eat, and eat. And pretty soon the host has made a grab for the chicken, its meat time. And at this point he generously pulls off the best pieces and places them in your triangle. And you realize no matter how much you eat, your triangle will never be empty. You begin to push food from your triangle in to your neighbors. Others see the guest’s triangle begin to dwindle and plop food from their triangle into yours. It becomes a battle, how much food can you sneak out of your triangle versus how much food can they demonstrate their generosity by putting into your triangle. On and on it goes. Saying, ‘O, no thank you I am full’ is like pouring sand into the desert. It becomes a war. You cross your arms across your chest, ‘I’m full.’ Really you are beyond full. You’ve lost and they’ve won. You have eaten much, much more then you wanted to in your desire to be polite and not waste food. Its past polite time. To heck with slyness, time for the endgame. You clear your triangle into your neighbors and say ‘thanks be to God’ before anyone can retaliate. Its over. And you roll yourself to somewhere where you hope that your engorged belly will feel more comfortable and less full.