I love Georgian food. Really, I do. And Georgian hospitality is fantastic. But convincing Georgians that you’ve had enough to eat, or that you don’t yet require another meal can be tricky. As any visitor here will soon learn, Georgian hospitality can catch up to you. I had the opportunity to hang out with some friends in Tbilisi last weekend, and this was one of the things we spent a lot of time talking about–how do we stop eating without being rude? (Or being overly successful, and not getting enough food?)
Here are some of the tactics we discussed:
Have a sacrificial piece of bread: Georgian bread is awesome and I hate to waste it, but you can use a piece of bread on your plate to keep your plate from being empty (an invitation to fill it), and to be eating when Grandma looks at you pointedly.
Pick some things you always accept when they offer, and refuse other things as a matter of course: I always take the fruit 🙂
Eat slowly. It can be hard.
The food on the table isn’t the only food that will be part of the meal.
It’s OK to leave the table (apparently): From watching my host siblings, I’ve realized that they just leave the table when they aren’t hungry any more. No waiting for the meal to draw to a close, or asking for permission to leave. I feel terribly rude doing this, but in my family at least, it’s acceptable and the best way to stop eating.