Friday, June 5, 2009

You are invited to a dinner in your honor

Ceremonies tell others about us. They honor, entertain and seal friendships. Throughout our visit, the Kyrgyz people have welcomed us with several variations of their traditional ceremonial dinner. Typically, these are hosted by dignitaries – our hosts included the Minister of Agriculture and the President of the Kyrgyz Agrarian University. The dinners are held in pleasant locations and table settings are carefully designed with food and dishes creating a lovely display. Many salads made from fruit and vegetables along with cold meats and cheese fill the table. Pieces of round bread made in tandori-style ovens are eaten throughout the meal. Waiters keep bowls filled with either green or black tea.

The first course is usually a clear broth soup seasoned with dill and filled out with large pieces of meat and perhaps vegetables. The next courses include cuts of meat and perhaps noodles or rice. The highest honor is the final meat course which is mutton. The boiled sheep’s head is served to the top-ranking guest and the other honored guests are served large cuts of meat. Fruit or something sweet completes the meal.

The host welcomes and offers a toast for the guests and dinner. This begins a steady stream of toasts throughout the meal as specific guests are invited to speak. Interspersed between the toasts, talented entertainers sing and dance displaying Kyrgyz customs. At times, guests are encouraged to join in. By the end of the evening one knows the Kyrgyz are creative, fun-loving and generous people. We are glad to be among them.

The dinner hosted by the president of the Kyrgyz Agrarian University.
The Minister of Agriculture presents IPM Central Asia CRSP Project leader Karim Maredia with a gift.

A singer and dancer at the minister's dinner.