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Double-dipping at Tapas Bar

OK so I need to vent a little.

Last night I went to an office gathering (13 people) at a Spanish Tapas bar. I’ve been looking forward to trying this place as I’ve heard great things about it. I arrive and about half the crowd is already there drinking Sangria and bread. So Jfood takes over and suggests we need to start ordering since its 7:00 and the others will be here soon and I guess it will be simultaneously to the food arriving (about right in hindsight). We stand around three separate stand-up tables. Coworkers order the basics (calamari, steak, shrimp) and then waiter looks at me and I add some more unusual items. Food arrives and everyone takes some onto their individual plates. Rest of the coworkers arrive. The food is OUTSTANDING!!

Here’s where it gets a little dicey (I’m being nice). We need more food and order. We all have individual plates, forks and knives. The tapa dishes arrive with serving utensils. Now people start putting their “used” forks in the “shared” food plates. :-( I think this is absolutely disgusting. The lobster risotto had seven different “used” forks picking at it. :-(( I basically sit back and wait for the next round to arrive and pounce on one dish, grab the serving utensil and then sit back and watch in horror as others “double-dip”, “triple-dip” on and on. :-((( I had plenty to eat so that’s not the issue, but,

Why do people think that it’s an acceptable practice to use their dirty forks in shared foods?

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  1. Your post immediately brought me back to a thread about Korean banchan. These sidedishes are placed all around the table for diners to share and no serving utensils are offered. I'd never thought twice about using our individual chopsticks to eat from the dishes until a couple who joined us asked how to eat them. Until then everyone we'd taken to the restaurant just dug in as we did. As it turns out, the expectation from Korean chowhounds was the everyone just digs in, so we were intuitively using correct form.

    Still when the couple said "so how do we eat these?" and I said "we just east them with our chopsticks" and they said "all of us?" and I said "that's what we usually do, but we can figure out a different way", I felt a bit embarrassed that I'd even suggested that we eat communally. When you think about it, I guess that eating out of the same dish is a little weird. But apart from concern for my dinner companions' feelings it just would never occur to me as something to worry about.

    But your story is different in a couple of ways. First, though I'm sure Myth Busters would have a field day, chopsticks just seem less gross than forks. They don't go into your mouth and people don't touch their lips or tongue with them as much. And secondly you were out with a large group of coworkers, not your friends. I think that might make the whole 'sharing plates' thing a very different experience. You didn't choose these people and even if you're reasonably confident that they have good oral hygeine you may not have an affinity for them. Let's face it, potentially gross stuff is far less gross if it involves people that you like. I would never think twice about sharing a hairbrush or lipstick with a girlfriend, but if asked to do that with a random normal, clean person I would be disgusted.

    At the end of the day, I do think that it was a little bit gross, but I think that clearly the majority of the group didn't share your aversion. You went along and didn't make an issue which was the correct thing to do. Expect that this will happen again in the future and take precautions to eat beforehand or order something that none of them will touch! : )

    1. I have the same feeling with fondue. Those forks are for dipping. Drives me nuts when I see people eating with them. You're served a dish and regular forks. Use them. Maybe the heat of the fondue "disinfects" but I don't like to see my companions eat with the fondue fork and then put them back in the communal pot. Besides being gross, doesn't it burn?

      1. I can't see why anyone let alone seven people see this as acceptable! If there's a serving spoon right there why in the heck would you use your used fork? Maybe we're just anal as I started a thread about why some people deem it acceptable to re-use their plate at buffets and many people replied stating they had no clue they shouldn't do that. If it were my family doing that, I'd be OK with it, but not with co-workers.

        1. I come from a family that shares off of plates and shares utensils at almost every meal. I have never thought of that as something only acceptable with certain company and I would probably need to be consciously prodded to notice doing it in mixed company.

          Although, when I did go out with friends (rather than family) for Dim Sum, I waited to notice how others were eating before going forward. Everyone (all 9 of us) were comfortable sharing out of the bowls.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Atahualpa

            Sharing out of bowls is not the issue in itself. Using a utensil that went from your mouth into a shared bowl from which others will eat is another thing.

            I am almost speechless that you and the OP's tapas buddies would never think that was inappropriate.

            Would you use their toothbrush? Maybe that is a bit of an exageration, but just think about someone putting a spoon of ice cream in their mouth, dipping it back into the pint and giving you a mouthful on that same spoon, and then doing it again, one by one, for 7 people.

            1. re: chow_gal

              I'd do that. I'd probably share toothbrushes too.

              I figure I am willing (not that I want to though) to kiss them full on the lips without hesitation.

            2. re: Atahualpa

              Family is different from friends and coworkers. Now even with family that's not immediate, we use a serving spoon or a communal chopstick. That's pretty standard when we go out for dim sum or other Chinese food even with very good friends.

              1. re: PeterL

                a communal chopstick or serving spoon?! Never seen that happen with dim sum here in LA (with the exception of stewy stuff) -- though the implicit rule is once you touch it, you grab it for your bowl/plate. (and of course, the trick of using the other end of chopstick to grab from communal plates, but that's a rarity too.)

                -AquaW
                http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com

            3. "Why do people think that it’s an acceptable practice to use their dirty forks in shared foods?"

              ~~~~~~~~~~~~

              Because their parents didn't teach them any better.

              I frequent a tapas bar in the Boston area, and whether it's 2 or 8 people, everyone always uses the serving utensil to spoon the tapas onto their individual plate. OR...if no utensil came with the dish, someone will use their spoon from their place setting into the tapa dish *and* leave it there for everyone to use.

              However, you said the tapas came with serving utensils, so why people used their forks instead of the serving utensils can only be explained by lack of teaching from their parents......or the amount of sangria consumed. :-)

              1. Hello... At work functions, multiple pizzas are laying out in the open cardboard boxes they were delivered in, for people to graze upon. Often, a co-worker will place the half-eaten/unwanted rim-crust of dough from their last slice back in the cardboard box (in the empty spots where slices formerly occupied, but adjacent to yet-eaten slices). The notion that this is acceptable reaches a critical mass and kicks in, and soon the cardboard box with several slices of good/untouched pizza becomes the dumping ground for leftover crust... Here's another from the office: we have a communal bottled water dispenser containing several gallons of water for the staff. Someone with their personal water bottle will uncap said bottle, then shove the bottle upward in-to and against the dispenser's spigot, as they refill their used personal bottle. I've even seen folks do this, stand there and take a big swig off of their just filled personal bottle, then proceed to refill it in the same way a second time to top it off. No clue and blissful in their heliocentric personal universe!

                1 Reply
                1. re: silence9

                  Re: the water dispenser - I see this ALL the time at my work, and I've actually said something - the person was completely oblivious to what she was doing. When I said it really wasn't sanitary for the rest of us, she did apologize but her excuse was she was "in a rush" and couldn't (a.k.a. didn't want to?) take the time to let the water fill her bottle carefully without the bottle's mouth wrapped around the spigot. I said a few seconds more wouldn't matter much, plus with everyone beginning to get colds, it really wasn't fair to the rest of us. I said the rest of us would appreciate it if she wouldn't do it again, and then wiped off the spigot with a paper towel dampened by hot water. Haven't seen her do it again. :-)

                2. If you have a problem with something that has been in someone elses mouth being in your food you should probably avoid 99% of the restaurants in the world. Chefs instinctively taste food and sauce as they cook with spoons that at best get put in a can with about 12 ounces of water to "rinse it off". The contents of that can are not pretty after 30 minutes of service.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: mdibiaso

                    Precisely. Such precious ideas about germs are pretty comical when you know what we really come in contact with on a daily basis!

                    1. re: mdibiaso

                      Many chefs use disposable plastic spoons for this purpose...they'll go through a big box every couple of days.

                      1. re: Hungry Celeste

                        Never seen this. Who has room on their station for a big pile of plastic spoons + a garbage can to throw them in every 5 secs??

                      2. re: mdibiaso

                        I appreciate this post very much. We have become germ phobic to a fault. Some exposure to pathogens help build a strong and active immune system. Enjoy the company if you are squeamish...accompany a group meal with alcohol of a strong variety(I think it kills germs)and lighten up! I sense a "holier than thou" attitude to most of these posts.

                        1. re: pesto

                          Hallelujah! Glad you said it pesto!

                      3. This is standard practice in Spain. I never thought anything of it. When I was invited to people's homes, a dish might be set out "para picar." Everyone would just use their own forks to grab bites out of a communal plate.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Frolic

                          I live in Spain and can certainly confirm this. Though these aren't tapas, per se, they are raciones or platos (though lobster risotto doesn't qualify as a tapa, racion or Spanish plato...). The big plates of food are in the middle or passed around and everyone eats off them with their fork, a toothpick or even fingers, depending on the food. No big deal here.

                          1. re: butterfly

                            Good point. Yep, that would be a ración instead of a pincho (honestly, I'm not entirely clear on the use of tapas vs. pinchos; it seemed to vary by region). I was also thinking about the composed salads that I would be served at people's houses.

                            I'm very jealous that you're living in Spain. What a wonderful country.

                            1. re: Frolic

                              I agree... in Barcelona "pintxos" meant they had toothpicks in them; that was about the extent of it.

                              1. re: Frolic

                                A tapa is a tiny individual plate with a bite or two of food that you get (usually free) with a drink--though people also talk more generally about going for "tapas," meaning going for an informal bite to eat (be it a tapa, a ración, a bocadillo, montado, pincho, etc.) at a tapas bar.

                                A ración is plate of one type of food big enough to be shared by several people.

                                A pincho/pintxo is a tapa that has a skewer or a toothpick through it or that can be eaten off a plate with a toothpick (the toothpick is called a pincho--pinchar means to pierce or poke). At many pinchos places you eat what you want off plates placed on the bar and get charged by the toothpicks left on your plate.

                                1. re: butterfly

                                  Not to nit-pick, but in the vast majority of Spain tapas are not free -- only in Leon and Granada, and sometimes in Leonese or Granadan bars in Madrid. Elsewhere (in the Basque country, in the Extremadura, Valencia and Barcelona for example) they have to be paid for.

                                  "Todas las tardes en Granada
                                  Todas las tardes se muere un niño."
                                  (F. Garcia Lorca)

                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                    Despite reports to the contrary, tapas are free and plentiful all over Madrid--and in many other urban parts Spain--provided you are standing at the bar or are sitting at table inside at a modest tapas place at the right time of the day and order an alcoholic beverage. I rarely pay for them, but I live here and I eat in a way that is probably a lot different from the way a visitor would.

                                    It's true that Barcelona doesn't have the same kind of tapas culture. Nor do other, more rural settings where heartier fare is the standard. But this is drifting off-topic.

                                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                      Thanks Butterfly. My memory was that tapa could be both a general term and a portion size. It's been a few years since I was in Spain.

                                      Das, the tapas were always free at the neighborhood bars in Salamanca when I studied there 12 years ago (such a long time). No idea if that's still the case. I certainly never ran across free tapas in Madrid in more recent years, but I never spent enough time there to become a regular at a bar.

                            2. Fortunately with chopsticks there's an "out" to this -- you use the business end of the chopsticks for eating and the other (usually larger and squared-off) end for service, if there is no serviceware.

                              That said, part of eating politely with chopsticks is not running your crusty lips all over the sticks, so I don't have a real problem with this.

                              I think the germ hysteria has got out of hand, actually. I want to take everyone who freaks out about a bug landing on their food into a professional kitchen... they'll never eat out again, or they'll get over it, one or the other.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                I think you're the second person to mention reversing the chopsticks. I don't know about that. I think that I would feel that I was insulting my dinner companions if I ever did such a thing.

                                My friends are all very nice, well kept people. If I had to borrow their toothbrush I would, in fact, do so without concerns of trenchmouth. I think that taking extraordinary measures to avoid contact is kind of weird.

                                Yes, it's different with co workers except I think a person is better of letting the pizza crust, water bottles or tapas exchange go rather than worrying about the sanitation involved. Sometimes the workplace can bring out that kind of hyper vigilance, particularly among people who may gravitate toward opportunities to control their physical environment.

                                I once witnessed an assistant go absolutely bananas because one of our co-workers sat upon a counter in the office kitchen. Something about her butt and the counter and people preparing food there. I should point out that the woman WAS wearing pants during 'the incident' and that no one was in the habit of cooking in our office kitchen. It was just weird.

                                1. re: Kater

                                  Hi Kater... As regards the tendency toward 'hyper-vigilance' and the 'opportunity' to control one's physical environment: the healthcare industry is a huge employer, as is the federal goverenment. I work for both. Though I have my own office and work strictly with a psychiatric population, JCAHO (the federal commission that inspects and accredits medical facilities) will 'ding' my employer if I so much as have a cup of coffee or open bottle of water on my desk while interviewing a patient. Food is absolutely out of the question, and even my live 12 inch tall bamboo plant is technically verboten. Let me re-state: I am a psychotherapist and I cannot have a cup of coffee on my desk when in session with a client/patient in an out-patient setting. I get dinged, my supervisor gets dinged, the medical facility gets dinged, and with enough dings, bye-bye accredits. With that constant mindset in place, you bet that there is a certain hyper-vigilance that translates from the clinical setting to the break/lunch room. I hate it, but that's how many many places stay in business. When I can drink my bottle of Arrowhead without hiding it in my desk drawer, I guess I'll stop worrying about the discarded pizza crusts too :-)

                                  1. re: silence9

                                    My goodness!

                                    I wonder if you could be officially permitted to consume coffee in the office if you drank it from a sterilized baby bottle....? ; )

                                    I've never worked in the medical field and I'm surprised to learn about these restrictions, particularly given the rate of infection in hospitals. It seems to me they might be better off foregoing the 'coffee on the desk in offices used for therapy dings' and redoubling their efforts to combat staph!

                                    But even I can understand why Arrowhead doesn't pass the purity test!

                                    http://www.digitalfog.com/gallery/arr...

                                    1. re: silence9

                                      What does "to get dinged" mean in this context?

                                2. Rick, I don't understand the problem with someone going through a buffet with their used plate. Who else is going to eat off of it?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Deborah

                                    Denorah, I did not either until I read the other thread. It made a convert out of me forever.

                                  2. A similar office pizza story:

                                    A group of about seven coworkers in my old office were sharing a couple of pizzas with the works in the conference room with appropriate paper plates, napkins, silverwear, etc. Since all the seats had been taken, an additional coworker came in and began to eat his pizza standing up... without a plate... over the open pizza boxes. Lots of toppings began falling off onto the remaining fresh pizzas and as the rest of us looked on in horror, one guy piped up, "Dude, why don't you just s*** in my mouth?" Crass yes, but it got the point across.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: LAcupcake

                                      Sometimes you just gotta smack people upside the head for them to realize. :-)

                                    2. Hey, anybody ever drank mate (prononunced maté, or mateh), a popular everyday drink in Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina & Uruguay? It's drank by sipping from a metal straw out of a gourd, it's passed around, and -obviously- everybody slurps from the one and only straw. It's been around for quite a few centuries. Haven't heard of any major infectious diseases, nauseating effects, riots or mass disgusts...

                                      1. Personally, I believe double dipping and/or putting used forks into fresh food is gross. As nice as your co-workers might be, you don't want to swap saliva with them. They might have a cold or trench mouth or herpes or...whatever. This is a social gathering so let's be civilized.

                                        Double-dippers can contaminate a dish with bacteria and viruses from their mouth and hands. Some of the bugs include salmonella, E.coli, golden staph and listeria can lead to a serious case of gastroenteritis with vomiting and diarrhea. Hepatitis A can also be transmitted by contaminated food. Perhaps I'm being dramatic but I read this information from a health website about a year ago when I wrote a complaint on Chowhound about doubledipping and many hounds poo-pooed my concern of sharing guacamole and chips with two other diners. It still grossed me out and I'm not a squeamish type.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Flynn1

                                          I am on the side of "use a serving utensil" in group situations.

                                          I may be a bit anal about such things but I find it completely disgusting to put used forks and such back into a communal dish. I will share anything with my husband but even with close friends, I thnk there is a limit.

                                          We obviously do not all agree but in order to cover all bases, there should be certain rules of etiquette followed. Some may not care but others do so in order to accommodate everyone, use the serving utensils. I do not think this is a terrible hardship.

                                          And to be fair, there are situations where this cannot be controlled. For instance, dip and chips at a party, I just do not partake, my loss!

                                          1. re: Flynn1

                                            Ok - too lazy to dive into your year-old thread but I'm not sure about your chips & guac complaint -- you do mean double-dipping the guac, right? (or just sharing chips & a bowl of guac in general?)

                                            -AquaW
                                            http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com

                                          2. No offense but couldn't someone have asked for some serving spoons and then say, "use these I think people will appreciate it." Or say, "We should use these, someone might have a cold."

                                            I wouldn't have stood by and watched double dipping.

                                            10 Replies
                                            1. re: ML8000

                                              I am definitely with you. I make a point of telling folks that I absolutely will not serve myself from a dish where someone has served themself with their personal utensil. I remind close friends when we are dining out. I make a point of asking for serving spoons if none are brought with a dish. You don't have to be anal to want to have the food you eat sans anyone else's saliva.

                                              1. re: mshpook

                                                You do realise that a fair bit of saliva comes out of our mouths as we talk. If that plate sits between you and your firends while you chat waiting for a serving spoon, you're really not benefiting that much -- there is still going to be some saliva just not as much. Plus the waiter and the kitchen staff both talked and sprayed their saliva onto the food as it was cooked and plated.

                                                I did have an aquiantence who was so germ-conscious that she wouldn't eat out. That I could comprehend -- it was at least fully logical.

                                                1. re: Atahualpa

                                                  you may be correct but i am not aware of anyone spitting on the food as they are speaking, unless of course they are one of those folks who do happen to spew saliva about as they are talking. i don't think that is true of most people though. i wouldn't care so much if someone used their personal utensils to spear some food that they wanted, but most of the time i have seen people use their forks as serving utensils, they may be moving about food on the plate that they are not going to serve themselves until they get to something they do want, and i find that quite disgusting. sorry, but i just do.

                                                  1. re: mshpook

                                                    I am with you, as my previous post states. It is okay to "not care" about this as others do (we all have our own issues) but it is easy enough to please everyone by using utensils. Like I said, it is not a hardship at all...

                                                    1. re: mshpook

                                                      How do you handle the whole "birthday cake dilema"? I mean do yiu take a slice of cake after someone blows out the candles?

                                                      1. re: pesto

                                                        i actually will say, although in a laughing way, "and please don't spit on the cake." but for me that is a long way from having someone sticking their fork or spoon into a serving platter of food. on occasion, i have even seen someone lick the serving spoon after depositing the food on their plate. sorry, but i do find it a turn off.

                                                        1. re: mshpook

                                                          You're right, it's not the same thing. When someone uses their fork to pick up food from a common platter you rarely get the full benefit of the fine spray of mucus that covers a birthday cake when the celebrant blows out the candles.

                                                          hee hee hee

                                                          Life is gross. It is also way too short to be the person who follows 'cha cha cha' with "and please don't spit on the cake"!

                                                          1. re: Kater

                                                            fortunately, most birthday cakes suck so it would not be a big loss to forego a piece of one. on the other hand, i personally do not know very many -- if any -- foks who don't know how to blow out candles without spraying saliva all over the place.

                                                            and although life may be too short to be the person who says, "and please don't spit on the cake," it is also too short to waste any time of it getting sick.

                                                            1. re: mshpook

                                                              When you blow out your candles, do you wish for a big plastic bubble to live in??

                                                              OK, I'm totally kidding!!!! : )

                                                              And I agree that most birthday cake is absolutely vile. Not only is it vile, but there's a bizarre and uncomfortable peer pressure to consume it! If you don't accept a slice, you're not joining the celebration or you're casting the pall of healthy eating over the gathering, or you've got an eating disorder, or some other weird thing.

                                                              The next time I'm offered a piece of neon pink, sugar crusted, dried up birthday cake I'm just going to say "What are you crazy?? You just spat all over that!"

                                                              1. re: Kater

                                                                Kater, given the numerous posts on this thread it is clear that some take hygeine as an afterthought. On the other side of the coin there are many of us who take it seriously, and absolutely resent, people who feel nothing of spreading germs through gross and unacceptable terms. Whereas someone feels that sharing a toothbrush is AOK (utterly and completely gross in my book), many don't, double dipping utensils that have been used into community dishes just indicates inconsideration for others.

                                                                To equate these affirmative non-caring actions to derivative saliva from chatting and blowing out the candles on the cake (personally i don't eat the top layer of icing if that's any consolation) to the sheer rudeness of actions such as double dipping is unfair.

                                                                I ride elevators, taxis, subways and spend more time on planes than I care to think of and yes you are right that we are constantly in contact with germs (no Howard Hughes here).

                                                                But the point is do we go through life with manners and consideration of others at a restaurant or in an eating setting where we have control of our own actions, or do we take the "holier than thou" attitude and say I'll do what I want and if you get sick, too bad.

                                                                I'm firmly in the former camp.

                                              2. Regarding mate, just because some people do it, doesn't make it not gross. There are things that I won't even mention that people do because they like it, but I'm sure you'd be grossed out by it.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Rick

                                                  Don't ever drink chicha, then, which is made by mashing stuff around in someone's mouth and spitting it back out to let it ferment.

                                                  Tastes great, less filling.

                                                2. I just imagine these people at their respective family gatherings for Thanksgiving, food set out in platters on the table, and they dig into a big pile of mashed potatoes and the plate of turkey like it's their own gigantic personal serving.

                                                  If you have your own plate, there's really no excuse, no matter what/where the cuisine.

                                                  1. Great way to go on a diet....

                                                    1. FOLLOW UP!!!!

                                                      I waited a few days to see the responces (Thank You!!) and it seems we have a few trains of thought. The camp I am firmly in is the "It's disgusting and manners need a severe uptick". The others include (1) fairly traditional in many cultures at within certain eating cuisines; (2-a) get over it and holier than thou; (2-b) i'll do what the heck i want and the rest of the crew needs to deal with it (DW and I refer to this as Gen-E (Entitled).

                                                      So I spoke to a couple of people in the office the next day and there were several that agreed that the ones who double-dipped were wrong ("gross" was a common theme). Many of them, unbeknownst to me, also ordered some dishes, grabbed what they could and watched the Petri dish develop. Not one had the "get over it" attitude. Yes my sample group was close colleagues and I did not approach any of the offenders so statistically it is not a valid study, but it's feedback.

                                                      OTOH - To the people who think that throwing pizza ends back in the box next to uneaten slices, I can only shake my head and say to have some consideration for your colleagues. Missing a day at work (being ill) for your complete and total lack of consideration is wrong. Throw the ends in the garbage pail!!

                                                      10 Replies
                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                        I can't tell you how many times I've been approached with a comment/question of this type and convincingly agreed that the affrond was just awful then walked away and thinking, 'Would you please find a way to get beyond this petty concern. How odd to fixate on such an insignificant gaffe!"

                                                        : )

                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                          I am one of the "get over it" people, but it stems from reality -- I have seen what happens in restaurants, and if you think your food was pristine and unadulterated before someone stuck their chopsticks in it, you are unfortunately deluding yourself.

                                                          I don't double-dip, because people think it's gross, but my wife and I do it at home when no-one else is around. We don't care, and there's no chance of avoiding each other's germs.

                                                          That said, throwing uneaten pizza ends, parts of uneaten donuts, chicken bones, etc. back into the communal receptacle IS crossing the line, whether it's at home, in public, or whatever. The communal receptacle is NOT a rubbish bin.

                                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                            What it comes down to is that people have different lines and it's unfair to tell someone else that their line is the wrong one. How many people here would be happy to be served their food on the floor? But,who knows what happens in the kitchen? My FIL (in the business) told me they drop a steak on the floor, they pop it back on the stove and onto your plate. What I see and what I don't see makes a big difference.

                                                            How much I mind sharing germs w/ someone is related to how much I like them. I would share a spoon w/ my husband but not a co-worker.

                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                              It's unfair to tell someone else that their line is the wrong one; there's the rub.

                                                              The majority of people at the gathering draw their line somewhere beyond eating directly from communal dishes.

                                                              Jfood did the right thing, in keeping his opinion to himself and simply choosing not to eat the food. Condemning the group for drawing a different line than his would be unreasonable.

                                                              1. re: Kater

                                                                If you flip it around, not acknowledging that there are others eating and some would prefer others not using used utensils when there are serving utensils seems unreasonable.

                                                                I agree, what jfood did was polite but was not necessarily the "right" thing to do. It was one of a few options. I have done the same thing in similar circumstances but would prefer people just thought a bit more about what they were doing and how it affects others.

                                                                If I remember correctly, jfood said that after the fact, other co-workers at this event said it bothered them as well...

                                                                1. re: Michele4466

                                                                  No one should be upset at having to use serving utensils or being asked to do so as long as it's not made into a personal thing.

                                                                  Again, I would have used the direct but friendly approach and make an excuse like "oh I have a cold and I don't want to share it, etc." Or just be frank like a good midwesterner (like my relatives) and say, "Joe I like you but we use serving untensils if that's okay with you."

                                                                2. re: Kater

                                                                  I agree. Double dipping bothers me but I wouldn't point out someone else doing it. I would just not partake. I don't think they're wrong, though, just have different standards. My inlaws will have a big bowl of clams and double dip their bread into the sauce. I just avoid it. I'd never tell them they were wrong.

                                                                  1. re: Kater

                                                                    Yes I had several options, but by saying nothing I allowed them to draw the line on my side of reasonableness.

                                                                    Why does crossing the line only occur with verbal statements. Would have it been OK if I

                                                                    - Offered to serve my co-workers
                                                                    - "Faced" the handle of the spoon at the offending parties so they saw the spoon and maybe took a hint
                                                                    - Moved the good stuff in front of me and make believe it's mine

                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                      You probably could have done any of those things, but I think that the course of action you chose was best.

                                                                      Making the serving spoons more available probably would not have had any effect and offering to serve would probably have just seemed like a nice gesture. You were out with a group of people who are comfortable eating 'tapas' (let's not get overly precise) from a common plate. Unless you made big stink and asked them not to , they would have stuck with their mode of eating.

                                                                      Now moving the better food in front of you would probably be your worst option. If they'd noticed they would like thought it a rude or coarse thing to do PLUS those closest would have continued to stick their forks in. There's no winning with that move!

                                                              2. man that is sick I could almost excuse it if it was alcohol cause its a disenfectant but that is YUCK

                                                                1. I reread the original post and am starting to believe that part of the problem was the restaurant's fault in that they should have brought new forks along with serving utensils when they brought the new dishes. Here in part is when the trouble started:

                                                                  "Here’s where it gets a little dicey (I’m being nice). We need more food and order. We all have individual plates, forks and knives. The tapa dishes arrive with the serving utensils. Now people start putting their “used” forks in the “shared” food plates. :-( I think this is absolutely disgusting. The lobster risotto had seven different “used” forks picking at it"

                                                                  If the restaurant had supplied everyone with new forks and knives and taken the 'used' forks, this problem would have been eliminated. Indian buffet restaurants absolutely make certain that fresh clean dishes are available when a diner goes back for more helpings at an all-you-can eat buffet. So let's not just blame people for being hungry and greedy to grab the food - the servers should have supplied new clean utensils.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Flynn1

                                                                    Sorry F1 but the problem started with the first "clean" set of utensils. Process was, sit, pick up fork, place in food, place in mouth, place in food.

                                                                    I firmly believe that if the dishes were cleared and new forks knives and plates arrived the people would have single dipped then double dipped

                                                                    The resto brought new serving spoons with each dish.

                                                                  2. count me as someone who isn't skeeved out about double-dipping

                                                                    1. I personally do not care if others double-dip or not, but I would avoid doing it myself (if I have to, I'll try to pour/scoop some of the dip on my plate or as an absolute last resort (because no plate of my own, no utensils, etc.), dip the end that I didn't bite into.)

                                                                      -AquaW
                                                                      http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com