Very intersting post . . .
Ill try my best to answer ur questions qand.
Cant answer ur question with the appropriate B day/ wedding gift bz. . . It depends for whom and what age. But just to be on the safe side, a Gift Card is the best gift to give. That way he or she can go and spend it on what ever they want.
Ok now since u are not an Afghan .. .for food , I say just marinate some chicken , cook it in the oven , make some nice salad and some white rice. Voila ur all set!
Now offending and not offending part. Qand just go with the flow. Once ur in the crowd , then u can decide .
Hope it helped in any way .