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The diet has improved in quality and variety, with modern supermarkets offering imported foods.
Lunch is the main family meal and is eaten at home at around two o'clock.
Before the establishment of the oil economy in the early 1960s, two main orientations shaped traditional Emeriati culture: the nomadic desert-oriented Bedouins with small oasis farming within the broader context of the desert economy and culture, and the sea-oriented culture that revolved around pearling and sea trading.
These subcultures were economically, politically, and socially interdependent, creating a common culture and social identity.
Before 1960, the only settlements were small towns and villages. Towns have been transformed from mud-walled communities into commercial capitals integrated in the global economy.
Because of the small population and harsh desert interior, 80 percent of the population lives in the coastal capital cities, leading social scientists to describe them as city-states.
Preservation of the urban heritage also is seen in the renovation of old forts, palaces, souks (marketplaces), and mosques.
Date palm trees, symbols of the local culture, have been planted extensively along city roadsides. Before the 1960s, food consisted mainly of fish, rice, bread, dates, yogurt, homegrown vegetables, and meat from sheep, goats, and camels.
The African and Iranian ethnic populations have been fully integrated as citizens.They are used to invoke a historical community that survived harsh conditions and now enjoys the benefits of unity and prosperity.These emblems appear on banknotes, coins, and stamps. Before 1971 the seven emirates were collectively known as the Trucial States, a name that originated from maritime agreements between the British and the leading sheikhs of the tribes inhabiting the southern coast between Qatar and Oman in the first half of the nineteenth century.It usually consists of fish, rice, meat, and a vegetable dish.Many Emiratis prefer the traditional style of eating with the right hand.