HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


What are your food sharing rules?

When I go to an Asian restaurant i am happy to share my dishes with others. At other types of restaurants I typically offer small bites of my choices to my friends. We often share desserts. However, I get quite irritated if my DH "steals" a french fry off my plate or hangs over me obviously as interested in my plate as he was in his. And if anyone takes a lick of my ice cream I can't eat the rest. How do you share your food?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Unless its red meat, which my wife doesn't eat, we will share any/everything either of us are eating if 1) the other wants to try it or 2) whoever has it thinks the other must try it because its really good.

    French fries are communal food in my world and I expect I won't get to eat all of the fries on my plate (though I wouldn't take one off a plate without asking if it wasn't my wife's plate).

    With friends, I often share dishes, bites and tastes.....though I can't recall sharing an ice cream cone with anyone I wasn't in a serious relationship with.

    1. With my husband, everything's fair game. We always share and don't get bothered if we reach over and grab things (of course, we don't do this at higher end restaurants). At higher end places, we generally trade plates midway through the course. May seem a bit tacky, but we don't care. And DH is the only person who can lick my ice cream..

      With friends, I don't get bothered if people try some of my food or I try some of theirs. But we always ask beforehand. I think I would be miffed if somebody just grabbed something off of my plate without asking.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Miss Needle

        "I think I would be miffed if somebody just grabbed something off of my plate without asking."

        heh. ever since we were kids, my sister has insisted that my food always tastes better than hers, even if we're eating the exact same thing, from the same source. unfortunately she thinks this entitles her to snatch food off my plate [e.g. pick the mushrooms & tomatoes out of my salad]...with her fingers, no less.

        i've learned that the only way to protect the integrity of my food if she even so much as eyeballs it is to be proactive about it - i pick out the things i know she'll go for, and give them to her before she can attack the dish.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Ha. I was the pain in the ass sister who would grab food from my sister's plate when we were kids. She prevented me from doing it by sprinkling pickle juice on her food -- I hate the stuff but she used to drink it straight from the jar.

          1. re: Miss Needle

            actually i have my own strategy for deterring her now....i cook with a lot of herbs, and also love my food spicy, but she doesn't like ANY sort of herbs or pepper/heat. the only condiment she'll tolerate is ketchup, or the occasional dab of mustard [seriously makes me question whether we really are related]...so, if i season it to my liking before she gets to it, she doesn't want it anyway. of course then she blames me for preparing it that way on purpose so that she can't eat it.

            brat :)

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              odd that she'd drink pickle juice, but doesn't like spicy foods! i find that people who like mustards, pickles, salty snacks, tend to like spicier food. they prefer an appetizer to a dessert -- if they have to choose. ok, that's my generalization for today! ;-)

              btw, any luck finding your pro kitchen in nyc?

              to keep on topic: even mr. alka and i ask if the other wants to try, or before we take from each other. well, maybe hot fresh fries are a tiiiiny exception. with non-mr. alka, i usually don't offer or ask to share -- unless it is family or a close friend.

              1. re: alkapal

                It's Miss Needles sister that uses the pickle juice, not ghg. But I agree with your generalization.

                1. re: danhole

                  ah, you are correct, madam. ;-) free apologies all around! esp. to miss needle and goodhealthgourmet.

                  okay, second generalization: i need to sleep more!
                  }-O (what? me snoring?)

                2. re: alkapal

                  actually, the generalization makes sense for my sis. her condiment of choice is heinz ketchup [some tomato with your sugar, perhaps?], and the only foods you'll ever find in her fridge or pantry are sugary cereal, 100-calorie cookie snack packs, containers of pre-cut fruit, chocolate, ice cream/fro yo, fruit-flavored yogurt, skippy PB, diet soda & snapple, and white wine. she's never cooked a day in her life, and doesn't even own salt & pepper...and she's in her mid-30's.

                  really, i don't understand how we're related.

                  alk, to answer your question, the hunt continues, but thanks for asking!

                  and re: snatching hot, fresh fries off someone's plate...feel free to help yourself to the lighter, less-cooked ones off mine, but if you go near the dark & crispy well-done tidbits [the only ones i have any interest in eating] you're getting slapped :)

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    i like them extra crispy, too! food fight! ;-)

                    1. re: alkapal

                      Uh-oh. The "only" <g> reason I get along with my sister is the french-fry differential. She: potato-y and light, me: crisp and dark.

                      As much as I like goodhealthgourmet's and alkapal's posts, I think there would be a hand slappin'!

                      Enjoy those crispy bits! (Funny how we are, huh?)


        2. My DH and I often order different things and when the food arrives I offer him a taste as he does to me. Then we place a bit on each others plate. At an asian restaurant it's anything and everything shared. BUT do not reach over and take something off my plate or you will get speared with a fork! Also I don't eat ice cream cones for the "lick" reason. I get the ice cream in a cup so you have to use a spoon if you want a taste.

          1 Reply
          1. re: danhole

            Everything is fair game, to friends or hubby, except for ice cream. All desserts, for that matter. Desserts are hands off.

          2. I must admit that I am willing to share anything with anyone at any time. I try to keep things vaguely sanitary by using separate cutlery if available, but I am not really bound by rules. Except: If I know I have a cold, or if someone has a cold, then I will be quite strict about the sanitary rules. But if everyone is well, I take my risks, and offer to share bites with anyone who wants to try whatever I am eating. That being said, I have not yet stooped to sharing a small hard candy with anyone (even my hubbie). I have taken a bite out of other people's ice cream cones (a bite seems somehow better than a lick. I realize this is really arbitrary, and not backed by science).

            I also take into account the preferences of whomever I am eating with. If it is clear that I am with someone who feels uncomfortable sharing food, I won't offer, and I won't ask. That is fine with me, everyone has their own way of eating! I don't want someone to feel compelled to share food if that will make the meal more unpleasant for them. I will also be much more discreet and proper at work functions.

            But my personal preference is for communal eating. If I invite you to eat with me, it is because I like you and want to eat together! I'd like to think I am pretty fun to eat with. But I concede, it can get messy... I am reminded of a fine poem/song by Jonathan Richman: "I eat with GUSTO, DAMN, YOU BET"

            (gosh, re-reading my post slightly horrifies me. Please don't feel I am a complete slob, I'm actually not! I can be taken to fancy places, and I can behave!)

            15 Replies
            1. re: moh

              Moh, I think you and I have the same rules, though I refuse to even eat with people who have colds. :)

              1. re: marmite

                I have a lot of friends with young children, and if I refused to eat with people who have colds, it is possible I would never see them! So I do it, but if I am sharing food, I will use new cutlery, and put pieces of food on their plates, avoid contact, etc. etc. Whatever I can do to avoid the cold. But sometimes you can't. C'est la vie!

                1. re: moh

                  You are clearly a better and more forgiving person than I. I have avoided people for months due to colds. :)

                  1. re: marmite

                    Marmite, I wouldn't say better and more forgiving - perhaps foolhardy and reckless!

                    That being said, for what it's worth, I do not recall more than 1 or 2 instances where I have eaten with someone who has a cold and thought "uh oh, gonna get a cold in a few days" and then gone on to get a cold. Most of the times I have gotten a cold, it usually arises without obvious reason. Oh those door handles... Sigh....

              2. re: moh

                Moh, I think your husband is right about us -- we'd make perfect eating partners! After we're done, we'll have crumbs and smears of chocolate all over our faces and bodies. But I also can tone it down if the situation arises (ie. work, etc.). If I'm more comfortable, I'm more prone to let it loose. My sister is like me, but a lot worse. When she started seeing this guy, she was the most dainty thing ever. Then she invited that guy home to meet our parents. The guy was shocked to see her picking up food with her hands, her non-stop eating, food flying all over the place -- you get the pic. After my sister got to know my husband, he was shocked too -- he thought I was the messiest person around until he witnessed her eat.

                1. re: Miss Needle

                  Miss Needle, I am envisioning Blackout cake... Big Grin!!

                2. re: moh

                  watching someone bite into an ice cream cone makes me shudder to my core.

                  problem is with colds and such, alot of things are contagious before symptoms rear their ugly heads. I have to say though, i was once at a christmas party where we were all sitting around a dip and one little girl was eating away long before her mother bothered to mention that just the night before she was still up all night with the Norwalk virus. Needless to say, the little girl had all the dip she could want after that one .

                  1. re: im_nomad

                    Im_nomad, sorry to disturb you about the ice cream cone bite.... I'm assuming it is because of the ice cream headache/cold temperature thing?

                    Re: Norwalk virus - yuck. I think I'm kind of lucky, my friends with kids would not bring their kid if they had recently been sick. Or they would be very careful, and warn everyone, and take extra precautions. Between your story and the thread on "Entertaining bad guests", I'm beginning to think I have a lot of very nice thoughtful polite friends! Some of these stories are horrific!

                    1. re: moh

                      yes, it hurts just to look...icecream doesn't seem like something that should be bitten.

                      re:norwalk...sadly that was the season i was being extra vigilant becuase my father was due to have surgery in a month or so, and hospitals would not allow anyone in if they'd been sick at all, and i managed to avoid it for two months...and i literally got sick the night before i flew home for his surgery, and couldn't even see the rest of the family, never mind my Dad, until well after the surgery. It was definitly not a "picky eater" situation !!! That being said, i don't think it was the little girl :)

                      1. re: im_nomad

                        re Norwalk: What person in their right mind brings someone to a party that as a virus that has taken down whole cruise ships full of people? I have to wonder if people leave their common sense in a drawer somewhere? geesh

                  2. re: moh

                    you said : << re-reading my post slightly horrifies me >>

                    oh no, this is my approach. Eat with those you are happy to share with. Laugh often.

                    1. re: moh

                      Ah moh, if you can get down and dirty, you sound like someone I'd love to eat with. Reminds me of that other post about taking your leftover bones from a restaurant home and gnawing them in private. We should really start scheduling Chowhound post-meal gnaw-outs!

                      1. re: cimui

                        "We should really start scheduling Chowhound post-meal gnaw-outs!"

                        Cimui, I suspect we could get quite a turnout! Wonder if we could find a resto that would host us ;) It might come down to meeting at a steakhouse, pretending to eat dinner there, then going to park bench somewhere close by to get to the real meat of the matter...

                        I thought very fondly of all the wonderful Chowhounds out there as a small group of us ripped into some fresh snow crabs from Rimouski last night. Very visceral eating! Lots of crab shell everywhere! I was so intent on eating that I didn't notice that one of the muscles in my leg had tensed up into an awkward position. When I tried to stand up to get more wine and butter, my leg went into spasm and I fell over, much to the amusement of my friends. What a great evening!!!!

                        1. re: moh

                          Last Friday we stopped for lunch on the highway between Matagalpa and Managua. One of the party was a young American who really hadn't traveled outside the US before and whose mother had taught her to eat chicken with a fork and knife. Her plate came with two fair sized slightly gloopy BBQ chicken legs (2 x drumstick and thigh). She was about to leave most of her picked at meat on the plate. So, con su permiso, I grabbed the bones and meat and ate all by hand, sucking the last of the good bits along the way. Sure she went back to Vermont a bit shocked; but I had a good time and we didn't waste food in front of our Nico companions.

                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                            Bravo Sam! You're my hero!

                            Re: eating chicken thighs with a fork and knife: I find that people who eat chicken thighs this way often leave the second best part of the chicken, that little cheek of meat at the top of the thigh bone in the little bone pocket. So flavourful. When in polite company, I silently wriggle in agony to see so many of those little morsels go to waste...

                            (The best part of the chicken is the chicken butt, or Pope's nose. Gotta go to a whole carcass for that. So rarely served in polite company.)

                    2. If you ask, I'll gladly share.

                      Don't ask and I'll stab you in the hand...as a warning.

                      For some reason the entitlement that even friends think they have to my food makes me go primal. Only my wife gets away with impunity.

                      1. For European and North American dining I like being with people who share bites.

                        In parts of Asia and among friends, its fun to pick the best morsels from the serving plates and put them on the rice bowl of someone respected. The best Lao and Vietnamese meals are lots of small shared dishes.

                        Basque restaurants serve "family style" which is really nice.

                        And always make sure the esteemed elder gets the chicken gizzard in Kenya and eastern Uganda.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          The chicken gizzard?? What very smart people. Finally, some others appreciate the gizzard as much as I do!

                          1. re: dolores

                            Funny, guess what I'm cooking tonight? You and yours are welcome to come and share.

                            1. re: dolores

                              Please, the gizzard of a chicken or turkey is the piece de resistance among me and my kids! Mmmm, mmm.

                              I do feel it's hard to share, but I do.

                              Crap, now I am hungry for gizzard....


                            2. M&M jfood always offer the other a bite. The process is to cut a piece and place on the bread plate for the transfer. Then the receiver can finish their bite and choose when to take the taste.

                              Wrt dessert M&M jfood always order one dessert to share. Two forks/spoons and we act like the two dogs from Lady and the Tramp with the long strand of spaghetti.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: jfood

                                That's what we do, but I have to make sure to enforce getting a bit of his dish before it disappears, and, similarly, prevent him from eating that last lovely morsel that I've saved, that he thinks I don't want!

                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  That's so funny. My husband always saves the best for last, but I'm almost exactly the opposite (eat the best first-- I grew up in a big family). I'm also a faster eater than he is, so I'm always finished first, and once I'm done, his food starts to look mighty tempting. :)

                              2. In general, when dining out I don't like to share my food with anyone except for my husband. I also don't ask to try other people's food except for my husband's. And I sigh inwardly whenever a friend asks if I would like to try what she has, b/c etiquette demands reciprocity. I love to share any food I cook though--just not when dining out.

                                1. Share with DH and the kids? yes? close friends? yes - so long as they're all cold symptom free :) When it comes to my kids though I can guarantee it won't be food sharing that causes me to come down with something(accidental sneezes in close proximity to Mommy's face from my DS who's two for instance)... but it's rare I get sick *knock wood* even when the whole house is coughing and sneezing(like this week for instance).

                                  BUT - I don't share (as in take bites off DH's plate/fork) when we're out at restaurants ... it's just something Mom had a rule about - she always said she thought it was poor manners. I don't know what Emily Post would think about it... but Mom's rules were Mom's rules, and most stuck with me :)

                                  1. Food is meant to be shared and not hoarded (half the fun comes from sharing something really good with others).... I will share anything with anyone I am reasonably sure isn't going to give me something contagious!

                                    1. My husband and I often order two different things that appeal to both of us at restaurants and switch plates halfway through.

                                      1. We are much like (what seems to be the majority of) others here. We share bites. Sometimes we switch plates. Sometimes each of us will find that we prefer the other's more that what we ordered! I eat more than petite SO so I often end up with her salad plate, etc., in front of me.
                                        I will take a bite off my Sister's fork but tend to be reluctant to eat that way if I don't really know the other person that well.
                                        One of the funnest experiences we ever had was to have lunch in an Asian restaurant in Seattle's Asian district. We sat at a large table which had a large lazy susan in the middle. Soon four Asians asked if they could join us. Pretty soon the food was whirling around the table. We/they shared everything and had a wonderful time with total strangers!
                                        SO and I usually share a dessert, if we have one... which brings me to my favorite request: Ice cream, you scream. Lick mine till I scream: Keep your damn hands off MY cone! :)

                                        1. Simple: You touch, you die.

                                          1. I tend to be a non-sharer unless it's serviced family style. Sometimes Dh and I will plan to share and that's okay, but we generally order stuff the other one doesn't like (I order a lot of fish out because Dh doesn't eat it). Desserts and apps I don't mind sharing, but stay away from my plate.

                                            1. This thread is so interesting from a socio-cultural perspective... I think from a global cultural perspective (meaning what the real world is like)... its funny that people see no shame in the "don't touch it, or die" attitude... fascinatingly bizarre.

                                              7 Replies
                                              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                I read somewhere recently (perhaps it was a TV piece), that people will be willing to let you try their food if you ask. I believe it to be true, especially if you show real interest and ask nicely. According to the piece some will even let you eat off their fork or bite their sandwich!
                                                Many times I have struck up a conversation with someone nearby about what they were eating (sometimes to the horror of my companion) and have even been offered a sample.

                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                  I think most people would be unwilling to say “no” if someone asked for a bite of their food. But it seems a bit presumptuous to ask. (Not to imply that you do this - I know you saw it on the TV piece.) If you comment that the food looks good, people can (and usually do) offer up a bit.

                                                  1. re: meg944

                                                    I have had first hand experience with this! My husband and I were just finishing our meal at K-Paul's in New Orleans about six years ago when a lady and her husband walked by our table on their way out. I was nibbling at the remains of my sweet potato pecan pie (with chantilly cream, of course), and she gushed at how good it looked, then asked me for a bite! I was amused (and for all purposes, finished) so offered her the pie. She took her bite, Mmmmmmed, said thanks and left. One of the funniest restaurant experience I have ever had.

                                                  2. re: Scargod

                                                    What I was referring to is my experiences abroad or in U.S. inner city... doesn't matter the ethnicity of those around you... most people don't wait for you to ask... they immediately offer to share.... when I first started interacting with Suburban Americans in school... the individualism was a HUGE culture shock. There is alot Suburbanites can learn from the inner city of they cared to find out.

                                                    1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                      I was referring to Scargod's post about a TV piece where they asked people at a nearby table for a bite. I think offering is great and have had many similar experiences. But I think asking a stranger (or even someone at my table who is not my husband/sister.etc.) for some of their food is a bit much. People may agree to be polite but probably won't like it.

                                                      1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                        No, I haven't asked, unless it was one of my party... I agree with EN, there can be wide differences in culture. Like, "I don't know where that left hand's been so I don't want to touch it" or, when I first moved up here from Texas, I found that people wanted more space and few were comfortable with you touching them. I had to get used to that.
                                                        I don't know whether I agree with you Meg, I seemed to get the feeling from the TV piece that people were proud when there was attention shown and eager to share in their "good taste". Like when the cutie-pie said that my red RX-7, R1 was pretty; I immediately offered to take her for a spin.

                                                        1. re: Scargod

                                                          I don’t think we really disagree – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with showing admiration and, as you say that will very often result in people wanting to share. But even if you wouldn’t have had a problem with it, in your car example, can’t you imagine that some people might find it a bit presumptuous if someone said, “Nice car – can I have a ride?” All I was saying was that I think it’s best to confine the remarks to admiration, without making the request, because otherwise, the other person may feel pressured into doing something they would rather not do.

                                                  3. My husband and I have very similar tastes, and both love food as a hobby, so we order our top two choices and swap plates 99% of the time. (This also enables him to eat 2/3 of both meals, which works well with our size and metabolisms.) We have a couple of close friends who sometimes join in the swapping (which naturally gives rise to some sly humor) but for the most part with other people it’s limited to the occasional morsel on the bread plate. I never ask to taste other people’s food, but will sometimes accept it if offered (not every time - “Oh, yours looks good,” isn’t to be taken as code for “Let me have some.” It really depends on whether I intend to come back and possibly try that dish.)

                                                    Desserts are often shared even with groups of friends. I think most restaurant desserts are just too large for people (and often not worth the calories.)

                                                    1. I had to laugh when I saw this thread this afternoon. Mr. Diane and I are notorious food sharers, especially at restaurants that we know serve huge portions. We were out for dinner last night at our fav BBQ place and shared one dinner which included 1/2 BBQ chix (1/2 of 6 lb chix!), 1/2 rack of ribs, onion rings, grilled asparagus and cole slaw. Truthfully, could one person eat this much food? DH and I left 1/2 chix breast as we were not going home after and it would spoil.

                                                      At typical fine dining place, we share app, sometimes share salad, each order main, share dessert. We tip as if we each had every course so as not to insult the waiter, but frankly many restaurants serve portions that are way beyond what is necessary.

                                                      Chinese restaurants or any other venue for multiple dishes (tapas, etc) are just fine by me as I would like variety of lots of different types of things. But, licking other's ice cream cone is a little disgusting - somehow unsanitary in my book. A clean spoon out of a dish is OK, but don't put your tongue in my ice cream!

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                        I don't mind sharing dessert with friends and family, but I do resent it when I end up being the only one ordering because everyone else feels guilty ordering, and they all expect a "taste" of mine.
                                                        Also, I don't enjoy negotiating dessert. My mom always insists on knowing what I am going to order. I often don't make up my mind until the very moment of ordering. She says "What if we all end up getting the same thing?" to which I answer "Well then I guess we'll all have gotten what we really wanted!"

                                                        Another thing I can't stand is when I am at a business lunch, I order dessert, the other person doesn't, and the waitron places it in the center of the table with two forks. Assuming I am on intimate terms with a stranger. This places me in the awkward position of having to look selfish by then pulling the dessert back to my place.

                                                        1. re: Leonardo

                                                          Oh no -- I can see how the business lunch situation would be highly embarassing. I wonder if it would help to head things off by emphasizing to the wait staff: "one dessert for me, only, thanks."

                                                          1. re: cimui

                                                            I always say "I'll be having the...." emphasis on the "I", yet they rarely seem to get it. Yuck.

                                                      2. I'm pretty disgusting. I have no rules when it comes to my family / SO / almost family. You can lick my ice cream cone as long as you let me lick yours! I expect some self restraint if you know you're sick or might be getting there, but otherwise, anything goes.

                                                        I get a little annoyed when my SO pilfers a LOT off my plate (i.e. whenever we have fries), but he usually stops after I fork him a few times.

                                                        I've always wondered if there's any scientific basis to think that family members and other ppl you're around a lot are less likely to get each other sick. You are exposed to each other's germs a lot, anyway, just by using the same door knobs, mouthwash, etc...

                                                        1. does anyone else remember the episode of friends when Joey's date kept stealing his fries? hehe

                                                          actually i shared a bite of pasta on a date not too long ago, he offered after raves about the sauce and said " you have to taste this " several times so...i took. It was ravioli or something , politely speared. And no he did not feed me. I barely knew the guy, but it seemed ok, and i don't remember feeling squeamish.

                                                          BTW.......can we talk about how to split app's? If there are five of something on a plate...is it ok to cut the last one in half?

                                                          6 Replies
                                                            1. re: babaoriley7

                                                              hahaha, thanks for posting that baba........i needed that laugh today ! I'd probably feel the same way if someone just reached over and started fisting into my fries without asking, lol. There was also an episode where he gave Chandler a bite of his meatball sandwich and before he could take a second, he took it back on him, lol. I also loved the thanksgiving turkey sandwich episode with Ross.

                                                              Many funny food moments on Friends....

                                                              1. re: im_nomad

                                                                that is funny! maybe i'm the "ross" of the knorr's spinach dip and soggy bread bowl.

                                                              2. re: babaoriley7

                                                                [scene: Eating lunch out with coworkers. One coworker being chided
                                                                for eating her french fries with a fork. My good friend and coworker
                                                                comes to her aid with following]

                                                                "I always eat french fries with a fork"
                                                                [picks up one of his fries with one hand and a fork in the other hand]
                                                                "Keeps other people's fingers out of my fries"

                                                                1. re: YoDuh

                                                                  That is priceless! I'll remember that next time I have fries!

                                                            2. I usually prefer to share. Then again, I also usually prefer to eat Asian and growing up, my family went to mostly Asian restaurants, so I think I grew up thinking that communal is the norm.

                                                              Though the higher end and ones that focus on entrees that highlight a single meat/fish, etc. are harder to share, so with those restaurants, I guess each person gets their own entree and with my friends, we tend to split/share appetizers. Ditto desserts.

                                                              It really depends on the people I go out with and how well I know them. I think with my friends, we tend to eat more at places that are conducive to sharing entrees--e.g. Italian, Ethiopian, Indian, other Asian, and tapas.

                                                              1. Half the fun of going to a restaurant is getting to share....I certainly can't afford (in dollars or calories) to order everything I would want to try...so sharing nets me (and my companion) at least one other menu item to sample. One of my favorite things about Chinatown (or at least the restaurant I last went to there, in NYC) was the giant "lazy susan" table where everyone could try everything, and with sanitary spoons, not personal forks, so even the cold afflicted or squeamish could enjoy the fun. It was a CHers dream!

                                                                1. When I'm out with my family or with a group that shares my taste in food, I'm all for sharing. But since I'm the only veg in my circle, sometimes I'd rather order separately - that way I'm sure to get exactly what I want, instead of bowing to the group on the only vegetarian dish we'll get.

                                                                  If we're each getting an entrée, then I always offer a bite. If I can't finish what's on the plate, I'll ask if someone wants the rest. But I would hate for someone to help themselves without asking, and I surely wouldn't do it.

                                                                  1. In my family there are no rules. If you want it you take it. Whenever I am home and go to the bagel shop for breakfast, if I leave my coffee or anything else unattended, I fully expect to walk into the kitchen not 30 seconds after putting it down and see my mother happily digging in to my sandwich and pouring half of my coffee into a mug.

                                                                    One night at Red Cat, my sisters and I befriended a couple at the next table and sent over a sample dish of everything we ordered so they could decide if they wanted to order the same. They then offered us some of the wine they ordered and let us sample it from one of their glasses before passing over the bottle.

                                                                    We probably grossed out half of the place, but it didn't bother any of us and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: deborah24

                                                                      I like this approach. You get to try so many more things that way!

                                                                    2. I don't mind sharing what's on my plate - worst case is that they eat too much and I have a good reason to order dessert.

                                                                      My pet peeve is when people insist that I try what they are eating. Going so far as to cut a hunk of whatever and putting it right on my plate so that I'll try it during my meal. If I want some of what you are offering, I tell you when you ask. But I'm not just being polite and refusing your offer, I'm being honest that I just don't want what you are eating.

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                        i think i have to agree with eat_nopal on this one. i'd personally find it really nice if someone tried to give me a taste of something. i'd always have the option of leaving it there in the unlikely chance i didn't want to try it.

                                                                        but maybe it's like when my mother force feeds me when i come home to visit. you feel obligated to try or risk hurting the other person's feelings?

                                                                        1. re: cimui

                                                                          With Dh, I had to learn it's 'okay' to hurt his feelings when he is inappropriate in this area. Our daughter has had to learn the same thing. I had to let go of the obligation and guilt years ago.

                                                                          1. re: cimui

                                                                            You think it's rude to refuse the taste but not rude to just leave whatever they put on your plate right there in front of them when they could have eaten it? Again, if I wanted it I would have ordered it myself.

                                                                            1. re: deborah24

                                                                              I don't think either's rude, actually. Also, I wouldn't be beyond handing the morsel back if I were full and couldn't eat it. No biggie. Most of the folks I like to eat with are comfortable with food trafficking.

                                                                              Also, the "I would've ordered it myself" approach doesn't work for me, since I'm inevitably torn between / among more than one dish. If it's my SO, I'll not-so-subtly hint that he should order x or y, so I can steal a taste. I'm completely shameless. :)

                                                                          2. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                            I think in some cultures it is polite to refuse a few times, so they may just be trying to make sure you aren't refusing just to be polite. But in any case, it seems like the solution would just be to say, "No thanks, I'm not really a fan of ___" so it's clear that you appreciate the gesture but aren't just refusing out of politeness.

                                                                          3. I don't mind sharing. As a matter of fact, I get frustrated if I am having something I think is really good and people DON'T try it. I am one of those people who if I like it I want you to like it too. Both my sister and my husband treat whatever I am eating as their own. It's good for me. Built in portion control and less waste. It is just routine for me when dining out with my husband to push my plate a little in his direction when I am done and without discussion he dives in and finishes it off. Even when we're at home I will often just want a bite of something, say an apple, and once I have the bit I want I'll seek him out and say I'm done with this. He always takes whatever and finishes it off without hesitation. And yes, we share ice cream cones.
                                                                            As far as friends go I don't mind sharing food, but am making adjustments elsewhere. I am new in town where I live, but often go out with colleagues of my husband on weekends. They are all good fun people, but I don't yet know them well and was a bit surprised the first time we all went out when everyone started trying everyone else's cocktail, mine included. It didn't realy make me squeamish though, I simply didn't expect it.

                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                            1. re: ArikaDawn

                                                                              Thanks for reminding me that I like to do that, as well. Mostly, it's just my SO trying it.
                                                                              It's a way of affirming that what you think is is good, is mirrored or contrasted by another. If it's good I say, "you gotta try this!"; then I shove the fork-full at them. Sometimes I will want to reproduce a dish which contains certain ingredients or has a distinct flavor and it is eluding me. I like playing the game of "what's in this dish?"

                                                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                                                Love the "what's in this dish" game, too. ("Hmm, what an unusual and elusive flavor that was! I think I need another sample to help me pin it down...")

                                                                              2. re: ArikaDawn

                                                                                Yeah, that worked for us, too, until he started getting fat. :) So now I just stick that half-an-apple / half-a-slice back in the fridge for later.

                                                                                1. re: cimui

                                                                                  My husband is one of those infuriating people that doesn't gain weight. He's incredibly active, works out like a fiend, and generally is on a program to gain weight, muscle of course. He probably eats about 3500 cals a day and is always hungry. He's 36 and his metabolism has been this way forever. It's good for me though because I can cook and cook and cook and nothing ever goes to waste. Me, I break 1600 cals in a day and my jeans don't fit. Go figure. Again though, a good reason to share.

                                                                                  1. re: ArikaDawn

                                                                                    I'm about to hit 62 and I'm like your husband. I'm lucky, I guess. I have a bit of a cholesterol issue but it is a heriditary thing, as well as the metabolism. I take minimal Lipitor and I can still eat anything I want and virtually any amount. I just worked nine hours in the yard with a young helper and I keep up. Thus, I am able to eat circles around my SO (like /as if, Wife). I do understand your plight. I have known others who had trouble eating with me and keeping their shape. I help keep my companion active (perhaps your hubby influences you, as well) and it is a good thing; mutually beneficial. We were just on our new trampoline! I assembled it, of course.