Recently, there was a post on Twitter about how Scandinavians are unlikely to offer food to guests. It was followed by a map, showing European regions by food offering possibility. This led to an online storm where people from food offering cultures were making snarky comments while the Scandinavians explained why that practice developed.

Here in Nigeria, food is offered to guests. In fact, offering food to people is so important that it is considered extremely bad form to eat in public and not offer some to people around even if one does not know them. It is so ubiquitous, passengers in public transport would offer their food round.

Now here is the thing, except if one has a prior relationship with the surrounding people, the offer is not genuine. It is made with the expectation that it will not be accepted. Another thing is that some parents warn their kids against eating outside the home. This warning could be to avoid creating an impression of poverty (which is the reason for the Scandinavian practice) thus shaming the parents, or gluttony; or to prevent the child from consuming poison or juju since some tribes here have a strong streak of paranoia. I am sometimes tempted to accept a stranger's offer, just to see what the reaction would be.

The culture is changing though. There was a time when if guests are offered food, they accept with feigned reluctance. Now, people either accept or reject firmly. People are becoming more like the German and less than the Irish person in this video.

The offer is made by saying either "join me" or "come and eat". In Northern Muslim areas, the offeror says Bismillah while gesturing towards the food.