Dastarkhan (table with victuals) exists with the advent of a man and his commencement to have a meal. In the East dastarkhan has always been honored as something deary and sacred, considered to be the symbol of abundance. Etiquette of conduct at table and the rules of food intake have been observed by Uzbeks since olden days. In an ordinary home the table is usually set for three-four times a day.
There must be bread and tea on the table as well as sugar and spicery, fruits and vegetables. Depending on the place, season, ceremony and so on dastarkhans may be multifarious. First of all, bread from tandyr (a clay oven) is put on the table which is served in separate slices. Then green or black tea is made. Fruit, honey, jam are adornments of the table. Etiquette of conduct at the dastarkhan is very old and requires a good Uzbek Dastarkhanknowledge of some traditions. When the table is laid meal is commenced first by the elder people who are present at table. Uzbeks like the majority of the nations of Central Asia and the East use spoons for liquid dishes and eat main dishes by hand. Therefore they often wash their hands thoroughly. Just before the meal it should be said: «In the name of Allakh, gracious and merciful ».
Uzbeks as well as Muslims in general start all of their activities with these words. After the elder other people sitting at table start meal. In a family meal is opened by father, after whom children can start eating. Uzbeks usually prepare well-known pilaw on Thursdays. On this day one of the elderly members of the family reads a surah from Koran in memory of their ancestors and relatives of the family.
Fragrant tea after a rich pilaw is considered as a splendid dessert. After the meal is taken head of the family or the eldest person at table opens his palms for benediction. In this tradition which is the end of the meal, good wishes, health of folks and gratitude to the cooks are expressed. It is interesting that benediction at table is made in Uzbek language.