In rural areas, before the meal, a calabash (bottle gourd) with water is served, and people wash their hands in it in turns: first an honorable guest or the head of the family, then everyone else in the order of seniority, so by the time it gets to the children, the water can be dirty. Children eat together with adults, and their responsibility is to hold the calabash with their left hand so that it does not spin or shake. An adult will not scrape the food out from the bottom of a pan, as then the children who cannot eat quickly and are not as agile, will be left hungry. After the meal everyone thanks the elders for the treat, and their reply is: “All the thanks should go to God!”
Ivoirians eat yams, plantains, rice millet, corn and peanuts as staples for their diets. The national dish is fufu (foofoo) which is plantains, cassava or yams pounded into a sticky mass and served with a seasoned meat and sauce called kedjenou (KED-gen-ooh). Kedjenou is made from peanuts, eggplant okra or tomatoes. A typical side dish is a porridge made from grated cassava called Attieke. Meat, chicken and fish are popular among those who can afford it. Many dishes have hot peppers and fresh fruits are a typical dessert.