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Northwest - Table Manners Illustration

Table Manners
Pacific Northwest Native Americans
in Olden Times for Kids

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Table Manners: These early people served two meals a day. The first meal was served around 10 in the morning, after the morning work. The next meal was served around sundown.

Meals were served "at the mat". A mat could be used to define a serving area, acting like a table, or mats could be used as seating areas around a table.

Before coming to the mat, prior to each meal, the men washed their hands and face, twice. They dried themselves with soften cedar bark that acted as toweling.

Before they sat down, they took a long drink from the drinking bucket. (It was not considered good manners to drink at the table.)

Courses were served in wooden platters. These platters were about a foot and half long, and were ornately carved from cedar. Places were hollowed out to hold various foods. There was even a hollowed out spot to hold fish oil, for food dunking. They used spoons to eat, carved from bone or shell.

Once the men were served, the women would join them at the mat. The family talked to each other during meals. It was a social time, a time to relax a bit, before returning to work. They quite often invited people from outside their family to meals.