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Justified or just greed?

Whenever a small group (I consider no more than 4 or 5 to be a small group) and I go out to eat at either a) A new restaurant I am excited about or b) A restaurant which I absolutely love, I have the expectation that we will share the dishes. Now, I only have this expecation when I am with close friends, because it would be somewhat rude of me to expect my new girlfriend's Dad to share his pasta. However, whenever my dining companions either order the same dishes or refuse to share, I find myself disappointed. Is it reasonable for me to expect at least a taste? Or is this simply a Marxist-dining-utopian dream?

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  1. Some people just do not want to share. Maybe it violates their idea of "space", and/or the idea that you are somehow contaminating their food. My BF and I will give each other a taste of ours, but I never expect that from any of my friends, no matter how close.

    1 Reply
    1. re: houndgirl

      I think your analysis is spot on. To share or not to share: that is a cultural question. Some people like me, grew up eating everything family style and I still do so with others from my background. In fact at brunch last week, two of my friends actually traded entire dishes mid-meal. But for other people, one's plate is an extension of one's personal space and invading that space is discomforting. With certain friends, I know my offers of a taste will always be rejected, and were they to offer me a taste of something to be polite, etiquette being what it is in their circles, I would decline as well. Just something I had to get used to, and you may as well.

    2. I dont expect a taste of anything any of my dining companions have ordered, nor do I have issues if others order the same items as I do, or others have ordered, that is kind of an odd demand, or expectation in my humble opinion. eating isnt a team sport. ;-)

      12 Replies
      1. re: swsidejim

        I have to disagree. when I am with close friends, eating is most definately a team sport! there is strategy....."ok, you order X, I will get Y, we'll get a plate of Z for the table...."
        consideration....." hey, did every one get a taste of this Turbot before I kill it?"
        and final analysis...." well, X was great but next time lets get W and K instead, and....."

        come on, if you cant have fun eating, what is the point? just stay home and eat protein pellets and wait to die!:-)

        1. re: nkeane

          You seem to make the rather bold (and unfounded) assumption that people who don't feel like sharing their plate are not having fun eating.

          With certain friends I am happy to share, but this is decided when we order (e.g. we huddle around the menu and decide on several things we will collectively order), but I have other friends with food preferences that are much blander than I prefer, and I never feel like sacrificing my carefully-chosen delicious food in exchange for some of their boring food.

          1. re: emmo42

            any snark was meant tongue in cheek. sorry for any miscommunication. anyways, It seems that some people have a different meaning of share then others. to me, sharing is a bite.....A bite, singular. unless worked out in advance.

            1. re: nkeane

              Sometimes I have a dish that isn't much more than a bite... or one bite each of several different things. By the time it's passed around... boohoo.

              If it's just hubbie and me, I share with him, but I'm especially likely to share for him (by taking some from his plate without asking...) That's what hubbies are for...

          2. re: nkeane

            I feel as you do, but it is usually executed as emmo42 does it. SO and I "cuss and discuss" about what we will have and then, because I eat more, I often end up with her plate in front of me or we may switch depending on which one we like the most. With others, when comfortable, I may offer "a bite", which means I hope they will reciprocate and offer me a bite. It is rare that I turn my nose up at sharing offers from dining companions. I guess I'm lucky, in that most of the people we dine out with have good taste... and then, often I am the one picking the place......
            I think the key to it is OP's qualification of "close friends".

            1. re: nkeane

              I have plenty of fun eating. I just do not see the need for a whole game plan when going out to eat with others. Concerning myself with what I want to order based on what others are ordering seems odd, and not fun at all. We go out to eat enough, and are regulars at enough places that we do not feel the need to try everything on a menu on the first visit.

              When I go out to eat with my wife, or mom, I will offer some of what I have, and maybe sample what they have if what they odered appeals to me. However with some groups I dine with I do not want to try what certain people are eating(vegetarian entrees, etc).

              1. re: swsidejim

                Well, you see, right there's the problem. You don't try enough new places and give us feedback on them. You need to experiment more and do something beside Q and steaks. You're in a rut. NOt a bad one, but a rut.....
                Let your hair down (if that's possible), and share and report! :,)

                1. re: Scargod

                  I went to over 50 new restaurants in 2008. Plus the spots I am a regular. I was making the point that going out to eat isnt a rare occurance, so I dont feel the need to gameplan it as such. There will be another meal out soon to follow, so I dont feel the pressure to need to sample everything

                  In December I ate Vietnamese, Czech, Cajun, Mexican a few times, Chinese a few times(rabbit, beef maw, etc.) Japanese a couple times, no bbq, and only steak I cooked at home. Not a rut if you ask me. :-)

                  I post most of my reports and pics on my blog, and a Chicago food site nowdays vs here on CH, CH is not as good as it used to be, & I do not spend as much time on CH anymore because of that, So I pretty much stopped posting my reviews of new places here.

                  1. re: swsidejim

                    You know, I like to read a lot of what you write. I was "ribbing" you, though I think you know that.
                    I was looking for the address of your blog site but only found that you were saying "adios", but are kinda still here!

                    I like to try new places but I cook a lot so we are lucky if we average dining out once a week. There are not fifty restaurants I would want to try in the New Haven area. Perhaps there are if I am willing to drive fourty minutes, each way. Chow!

                    1. re: Scargod

                      Hop a plane to Philly on sat scargod. You can come to the Assi meeting. You know you want to. :)

                      1. re: givemecarbs

                        Oh God! A Chowhound gathering at Assi? I'll have to cancel my trip to Jamaica... What should I do?
                        I just spent 26 hours (12-26~12-27), in O'Hare becasue of weather.

                        1. re: Scargod

                          That couldn't have been fun Scargod! Not sure what the forecast in Philly is for saturday but it is el crappo today. Jamaica sounds good. But a gathering of chowhounds will warm up any locale!

          3. Unless we order family style or it is someplace new where we are all curious to try each other's food, my friends/family don't usually share our food. Certainly nothing wrong with it, but I don't think its a common assumption, unless there is a deal made where you and a friend are both torn about the same two entrees and agree to order one of each and share.

            1. It depends on the background of the friends.
              When I and my family go out with our friends we always share dishes (friends are Korean or Korean/American families or other Asian families).
              With acquaintances we always ask before ordering if they want to share family style or order individually.

              2 Replies
              1. re: hannaone

                I too come from a food sharing background, have married a sharer and raised one. Even the dog gets tastes of good stuff, not to miss out on the pleasure ( this is not reciprocal, the dog food stays in the bowl!). Anyway, this brings to mind a favorite episode of "Friends" where a date wanting to share food is a relationship deal breaker. Thanks to Google, a snippet of dialogue:

                Joey: It's not about the fries, it's about what the fries represent!
                Phoebe: What?
                Joey: All food!

                Sometimes it just can't happen!

                1. re: hannaone

                  I was so thrilled ,when in Seattle, we shared a circular table with about six Asians and we began sharing food. It was a great experience!

                2. I think this expectation is more common in foodies than non-foodies. Foodies get excited about a new place and want to try several things so everyone can sample and get a good feel for the whole menu. Non foodies don't.

                  Remember, while it might be cultural or just a personal preference, some people may be trying to save you from a contagious illness they have, they're not trying to be mean. I work with someone that nobody knows has herpes simplex (the cold sore on the face type) and she's constantly getting ribbed because she doesn't want to share after she's taken a bite of food. She will often offer it to people before she tries it but not after.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: rockandroller1

                    I agree, rockandroller1. I think it is more prevelant in foodies. To some, the food in a restaurant is one of the least important aspects of the entire experience.

                    1. re: rockandroller1

                      I am all about the food and I don't like to share. It has nothing to do with my herpes or any other illness. Sheesh. As if everyone that loves food and going out in a group has to be the same!!

                      1. re: nolanani

                        My point isn't that everyone has a communicable disease, but that some people don't want to share, and they are entitled to their reasons and shouldn't be pressured to share if they don't want to, because you don't know what those reasons are, and those reasons are none of anyone else's business.

                        1. re: rockandroller1

                          Yes, that is a good point. I was actually put off more by the presumption, and pastry634's agreement, that foodies are more inclined to share and non foodies are not. Like I said, I am all about the food and I don't like to share. I guess it has something to do with my childhood, like having to clean my plate. Maybe if I did share I wouldn't be so fat.

                          1. re: nolanani

                            I have an unproven theory that kids who were made to clean their plate struggle with being overweight in their adult lives. I think it's a terrible thing to do to a child. There's a difference between not taking food you don't want and intend to eat and making someone eat when they're no longer hungry. Whenever anyone wanted 2nds in my house, you had to wait 20 minutes at the table If you still wanted the 2nds after that, you could have it. this is because it takes a little less than that amount of time for the knowledge to travel from your brain to your stomach that you're full. That way you didn't take food you didn't want and couldnt' finish. We *did* have seconds from time to time, but most of the time we didn't.

                            1. re: rockandroller1

                              An interesting tangent to get on. I still reflexively try to clean my plate. I pretty much know how much I want at any given meal at home. When I go out I am thinking about the money spent and not wishing to waste any of it, even though I could get a to-go container. Sometimes I do that if SO does it. Still, I am slender, at an ideal height to weight and am healthy. I am lucky. I have tended to have hollow legs all my life. Now, I have to be careful because I am not quite as active as I have been in the past and I still eat well.
                              When growing up we cleaned our plates if we wanted any dessert, though dessert was rare. Being one of five kids, dividing up the food usually meant there was nothing left for seconds. Sometimes we negotiated for what we liked best. I remember my mom fuming when a sister brought her kids over for hamburgers. One child took two, then didn't finish the second one. We had a rule of not taking more that you intended to eat.
                              The idea of a "time out" before you can have seconds is a good idea. I have learned that if I can stop for a few minutes I usually am not so inclined to have seconds or feel hungry enough to finish cleaning my plate. I do have two brothers who are a little overweight.

                              1. re: Scargod

                                I had the hollow legs until about 35 and then it all changed. Hope it never happens to you!

                              2. re: rockandroller1

                                We were forced to clean our plates or eat food that made me nauseous. At a certain point, I decided to stop eating altogether in protest, using their guts as examples of why I shouldn't eat like them (teenagers are sweet).

                                As far as I know, it actuallly takes 18 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain that it's full, and chewing food 20x before swallowing allows the message to get back more effectively while adding in more digestive saliva (although counting chews is not my idea of enjoying a meal). Slow service in restaurants, however, does cause me to lose my appetite, and is why restaurants are supposed to serve food faster than 18 minutes from the bread basket and completion of eating each subsequent course.

                                Am I overweight? No, but I do weigh more than I did in HS.

                                1. re: Caralien

                                  "Am I overweight? No, but I do weigh more than I did in HS." Ah, but don't we all :)

                                  1. re: rockandroller1

                                    Nope. Weigh (way) less. In high school I valued quantity. Now I value quality.

                                    ... though a large quantity of high quality gets me in trouble.