The following description of a Thai mealtime was written in the 1850’s by Monsignor Jean-Baptiste Pallegoix:
The Thai take all their meals seated on a mat or carpet. The dishes are enclosed in great bronze vases with a lid in a conical shape and adorned with red cloth. The dishes are cut in small pieces and the rice is placed aside and to the right in a great, widening bowl. On the left side, there is a basin with water in which floats another small basin to drink. The diners have neither spoons, nor forks, nor knives. They only use a mother-of-pearl spoon to take from the plates. For all the rest, fingers are sufficient for them. Only when they are satisfied do they drink pure water or a cup of tea. Drinking from the same bowl or cup is not shocking to them. Among the rich people, the husband usually eats before his wife who serves him at the table.The Princes and the King are only different from their subjects by the richness of the cutlery and the variety of dishes.
The dining hour is, so to speak, sacred for the Thai. One never bothers somebody who is eating; even masters themselves watch out not to interrupt the meal of their slaves. The time of a meal is also a time for silence. Even if one is with ten or twenty people to eat together, one barely hears a few words escape one or the other, so deeply engrossed are they in their business! Thus, their meals take only about a quarter of an hour. One must also remark that they never drink before or during a meal, only afterwards.
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