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Jan 18, 2007 08:21 AM

Is it OK to start eating before your host eats?

The plating vs. family style post inspired me to ask this question: Do you wait for your host/or cook of the evening to start eating or do start eating before they do? I was raised to wait for my host/mom before commencing to eat but MIL and DH have 'retrained' me to ease up on my formal ideas for meals at home. When dining away from home, I stick to the manners I was taught even if the host says it is ok to start without him/her.

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  1. Alot of people don't think so,my grandma insists on you eating as soon as you get the food,usually because shes in the middle of cooking more to put on your plate as soon as theres room.
    I always thought that that was a dumb rule made up by the antacid companies,thank god lets eat!!!!!

    1. Well, the easier rule was that grace was said after everyone was served and no one ate until grace was said....

      Having properly warmed plates also helps make the issue of food getting cold less of an issue.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Karl S

        I was raised under saying grace first even till this day. Lately, that has been taken care of prior to the start of the "food line" as we generally eat as a large (25+) family member group. The host attempts to get some order here as getting our elders or those in more need are taken care of first.


      2. Yes, unless they insist several times that I start without them - even so, I'm reluctant to do so. Same in a restaurant, though I'll be the first to suggest that others start without me if my food hasn't arrived yet.

        1. The way I learned it, you get to sit and sip your drink with a smile until either everyone at your table has been served, or until the host (or in the case of large catered events where the host is across the room at his own table, someone else at the table) says something along the lines of "Oh, don't wait for me, go ahead and eat." Naturally, if you'd still like to wait until everyone has been served once the host says that, you're welcome to; it's a gracious gesture to the host.

          3 Replies
          1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

            There is some rule about if there are more than 8(?) people at the table, you can go ahead and start before everyone is served, for what it's worth.

            1. re: MMRuth

              i have heard that rule as well, as so the food does not cool?

              1. re: chef chicklet

                I assume so ... that serving that many people will cause the people served first to have to eat colder food. I actually serve myself first at a dinner party when I serve plated food, for that reason, even though it may at first seem counterintuitive/rude to do so.

          2. This is a good topic. I was raised to wait until everyone was seated to begin eating (after saying grace of course). My first trip to Germany with my husband to see his family was hilarious. We would be out at a restaurant and over there, everything is cooked to order and fresh and it comes out as it is done, not when the whole table's order is finished like it is here. Inevitably, my entree always seemed to come out first and I would sit politely and wait until everyone was served. After this happened about 2 times, they asked me what was wrong with my food and why wasn't I eating? So I explained how I was raised, telling them to me, it was impolite to eat until everyone was served and they all got a good laugh out of it. I still feel weird eating if everyone hasn't been served yet.