HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


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?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  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.

                      2. I think it's unreasonable to expect a taste of someone else's food, unless it's been agreed to in advance (like eating family style, an agreement to order to dishes and share them or a long-standing agreement with a SO, etc.). It is really unreasonable to expect someone else to order a dish other than the one they want, just so you can have a variety of foods to taste (although, I admit, I get irritated about this, too, when my SO wants to order the same thing I want to order). That said, I agree with other posters that it's sort of cultural - most of my close friends and family would offer a taste of their food or drink, but I have been put off by a not quite as close friend asking for a taste of my SO's drink.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: akq

                          none of my meals (formal or casual) require an advanced sharing directive

                          please sneak as many tastes as you want, 'cause I'm doing the same~ if we find something that's just too good to share we'll order seconds!

                          too much food to try out there~ all bets are off regarding tasting etiquette

                        2. Big on sharing, as a matter of fact when dating my now dh the fact that we ordered with the intent to share was one of the things that I loved about him. We even switch plates mid course sometimes. Our older kids seem to have picked up the sharing habit with friends and now with dates....SHARE!!

                          1. Unless we've ordered a dish to share, I'm not a big sharer. I do it w/family and reluctantly w/certain friends... if they ask.

                            1. This post is absolutely spot on when it comes to my expectations when eating out with my SO or close friends and family. In my case, I think it is a combination of the fact that I am a hopeless foodie and get ridiculously (for other people, that is) excited about trying out as many different flavours as I possibly can and the fact that in my family, we have always shared. However, my boyfriend is from the opposite background: a meat and two veg British guy who had never ever shared anything until he met me and now he knows it is so important to me that he happily plays along. But whenever we go out with his family, they quite often order the same dish over and over again and never want to try anything else! A complete foreign concept to me but I adapt (through gritted teeth!) everytime we see them.

                              1. Though I have entered in on many threads on "manners," I have to admit that my wife and I do share. This allows me to review more than just my dishes. I make my wishes known, and the staff nearly always offers up the dishes with adequate flatware and dishes to allow fo this, without passing a bowl, plate, etc. around the table.

                                Pretty much goes for other diners at our table. One couple, with whom we often dine, writes cookbooks, and we always discuss each dish. Yes, there is some passing, and the bread plates do double duty.

                                I have never dined in an informal situation, where a guest, or my wife, did not wish to share. Odd, at best, but that is the way that it is.


                                12 Replies
                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  I'm confused by your first sentence. Why is sharing or offering tastes antithetical to the notion of manners? Although, wait, come to think of it, you did place manners in quotation marks, so maybe you meant something else?

                                  1. re: Lizard

                                    Many consider "sharing," whether plates, or just forkfulls, to be bad manners, even amongst consenting adults.


                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                      Julia Child rather fiercely denounced sharing, IIRC.

                                      1. re: Karl S

                                        And probably so have many others, considering the # of people, who decry the practice. I am obviously not one of those.


                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                          Would be lovely to have something more substantial than these mysterious people. I'll assume this is an American thing since I've yet to find people in Europe (Western Europe at least) who treat this as rude. Not necessarily always customary, but hardly the thing to get all fussed about (and need to practice in tiny dark corners).

                                          1. re: Lizard

                                            I should specify that I'm not talking about sharing a single dish-- at least not here, But offering a taste (not feeding someone, mind, that's just tacky) is hardly poor manners, at least not where I come from.

                                            Chewing with one's mouth open, grabbing things, reaching across another person,etc., -- those are poor manners.

                                            1. re: Lizard

                                              I've dined out with friends in and from Western/Eastern/Central Europe, Northern Africa, Asia, and elsewhere, who either share or find the practice odd. Some friends really want to try everything, others find it strange to ask (so when dining out, the sharing types would partake in the practice only when it wouldn't be offensive to everyone at the table, which was our compromise). It really didn't matter where they were from (including friends from childhood in Germany, or the US, France, or other places, who had fine manners but differing opinions on whether sharing should ever be done).

                                          2. re: Karl S

                                            Julia Child did not like sharing, or rather, complained about it at one point. However, this did not make it rude. Moreover, this seemed to be more in response to the pushiness of those wanting to share or play merry-go-round with plates (especially if one would prefer to eat the entire thing without a fuss). Her stance would be more about the legitimacy of not wanting to share (fair enough) and not about the rudeness of sharing, which is what Bill Hunt is indicating by placing sharing as contrary to manners.

                                            I'd also say that sticking one's fork, uninvited, into another's dish is rude. Typically, one can make a bite for for someone and place it on a bread dish or on the edge of the main dish, depending.

                                            Forcing someone to share is rude, true. But sharing voluntarily, or volunteering not to share-- neither of these positions seem to be contrary to manners, or well-mannered behaviour.

                                            1. re: Lizard

                                              Offering to share is not rude. Expecting that others will share, and even cultivating some resentment if they do not, is rude.

                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                Did I suggest otherwise?

                                                Asking always means expecting 'no' as a possible answer. Otherwise, it's demanding.

                                                1. re: Lizard

                                                  The OP clearly is expressly an expectation and resentment is lurking about. That's past the merely "asking" stage.

                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                    My comments were directed to Bill Hunt, who indicates that sharing is not well-mannered behaviour. This is where my questions began and comments continue. Thanks for jumping in with your thoughts, though!

                                                    Agreed that presumptions that sharing should occur is rude. Presumptions usually are, as are snits when people don't conform. (Then again, I'm also not the sort of person who is put out if others order the same dish I have chosen. It is perfectly acceptable to enjoy one's own meal and not think about your dining partner's next blog entry :) )

                                    2. I grew up in an atmosphere where often the best morsels on your plate would be offered to the other person, in a solicitous manner. I haven't seen this behavior much in other families, so I find it hard to explain to others in a way that they will understand. Foods would be ordered with an eye to everyone, not just oneself. It was especially important to pay attention the matriarch. Of course, she did not put anyone out by being demanding in any way, but the token deference was still there. It was important to pay attention to the other diners and their little preferences. You would show love and care by this, perhaps inviting them to try a favored morsel.

                                      It had nothing to do with being a foodie family. The family was not foodie. It was a social custom. My husband did not grow up this way, however, so the custom does not really continue in my life. He usually offers me a pickle, though, if he has one on his plate. I only continue the dance whenever I eat with my father.

                                      1. When M&M go out alone, mrs jfood almost always offers jfood a taste if they ordered different dishes. She is usually a salad app lady, so that rarely occurs. Entrees, she normally slides a little to jfood and vice versa.

                                        With friends it is just the opposite unless pre-meditated. Their are times when 2 of them decide to order and share an app, ie. a salad (some places are too large for a single) or a pizza. But it is rare on the entree course. Even rarer is anyone other than spouses "sliding a bite" to a non-spouse.

                                        There is one exception of course, and that is a favorite small plates restaurant where everyone is expected to share and there is a mutual consent on the orders.

                                        Happy New Year to All

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. My department (12 not very adventurous eaters, by the way) goes out for team lunches a few times a year. And they ALWAYS vote for PF Changs. And we do pass the dishes around. (I know there are a few who really would prefer not to.) A couple of us order the specials, because everyone else always orders the same old boring stuff--mostly chicken and beef with broccoli. And we have two vegetarians in our department so they aren't interested in the wok-seared lamb. But in a way it's good, since they never want to try the new stuff, I get more of it!

                                          1. We have a couple with whom we are very close friends. Sometimes we go out as a group and other times I go to lunch w/ the Mrs. only. We always share apps and typically offer bites of our entrees to everyone. We're all food-lovin' folks and it's very informal.

                                            A while ago the Mrs. and I went to lunch, just to two of us. We ordered different entrees and when our dishes arrived, without even thinking, I reached over and stuck my fork into her dish for a bite (I don't know what possessed me!). Her eyes bugged and she said, "I can't believe you just took a bite of my entree before I even tasted it AND without even asking me!" She laughed, teased me and then called her husband and told him the tale. I think it bugged her but she excused it b/c we're so close. For the record, I really don't know what I was thinking (I clearly wasn't) and it would've annoyed me too.

                                            I've learned my lesson. :)

                                            1. SO and I always share. And I have some friends with whom I am quite comfortable and have no problem if their fork visits my plate. But if I'm dining with someone I don't know very well, I wouldn't want that to happen. If they asked, I would put a little on a side plate for them. And if everyone at the table wants the same dish, so be it.

                                              Drinks are tough. I don't like to hand over my glass and have someone else sip from it. Feels like I'm swapping spit.

                                              1. I grew up in a culture where family-style eating is the norm, so sharing was an everyday occurrence. However, I do not want to share unless we are eating family style. I always inwardly sigh when someone at the table asks, "Do you want to try what I have?" b/c it implies that I have to offer a taste of my food as well. I don't think it has anything to do with being a foodie or nonfoodie--though I hate that word, most of my family and friends consider me to be one--and it doesn't make me want to share one bit more or less.

                                                One of my sisters has a habit that drives me nuts. We'll go out to eat, and she basically just takes something off everyone's plate--and that'll comprise her main--and have her order (barely touched) pack up to go. To me, that's just greed or maybe gluttony. I'm not really sure.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: gloriousfood

                                                  Your sister's habit seems very greedy--she gets a little of everyone's meal, and doesn't have to share her own!

                                                2. Assuming you are discussing dining in the context of individual service. your expectation is not reasonable. It is not justified, though it is not just greed. It is, however, misplaced.

                                                  Even with close friends.

                                                  It's not about fun, or being a foodie.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                    This notion of sharing is something I used to use as a "clue" on potential compatability on first dates. If my date chose the same dish I did, I would secretly be disappointed that he didnt want to try different things. Same dish meant no sharing. If he chose something different, but did not want to taste my food, or didnt offer me a bite of his, same sort of disappointment. Not a deal breaker, but definitely a telling sign.

                                                    Our local chowhound dining group seems to have an unspoken rule -- when we gather for our casual lunches/dinners at new places, each person orders something different, most people take pictures (yes, that's us over there in the corner with our cell phones, snapping away at our entrees) and everyone shares. I've been offered sips from other's wine and cocktail glasses, and its all in the name of culinary exploration.

                                                    I do, however, respect the wishes of those who do not want to share. Some members of my family are not as adverturous as I am when it comes to food, and I will always offer them a bite of what Im having (if they are curious) without expecting some of theirs in return.

                                                    And one funny story comes to mind here ... a few years ago I was invited to dinner in a very nice restaurant by my new boss and his wife. They were "plain eatin'" kind of folks, so I was surprised when the wife ordered soft shell crabs. She tried a few bites, didn't care for it at all, and was eyeing my chicken with some enthusiasm, so we switched plates ... everyone was happy (and I made points with the new boss)!

                                                    1. re: Cheflambo

                                                      Interesting comment in the first paragraph. I often am preplexed, when my wife has chosen her main. I usually am asking, so I can pair our wine(s) with the meal. If I too have focused on that, she will immediately chose something else.

                                                      From the standpoint of different dishes, this is fine, but I always feel that it should have been me, who chose a different main.

                                                      We have no problem with sharing, and do so quietly and pretty much out of sight of the other diners, but still, sometimes I feel a bit bad.

                                                      Thanks for the comments,


                                                  2. I seem to be in the minority here, but I don't share with anyone, except MAYBE my husband, on very rare occasions. If I want to taste a few different things, I'll order them.

                                                    I DO share bottles of wine, though. :)

                                                    1. When I got out with my boyfriend, we'll give each other tastes of our entrees. If I go out with a group, I don't generally expect to share my entree, unless it's a family style meal. I guess I feel like I chose the entree I want to eat, not have only three bites of because I passed the rest around the table.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: manraysky

                                                        "I guess I feel like I chose the entree I want to eat." Yes, and it works both ways. Please don't put a sample of your dinner on my plate without asking. I'm glad you love it but I just don't like (black bean sauce, lamb, cilantro, whatever).

                                                      2. For me, sharing or not seems to depend on the company and the restaurant. It's a very long "tradition" among family and old friends that everyone orders a different dish in a Chinese (and most Asian) restaurants. Same goes for mezes and tapas. But since I've moved here to the Dallas area, sharing -- even in a Chinese restaurant -- seems to be alarming to the natives I've met so far.

                                                        In traditional "entree" type restaurants there seem to be unwritten rules among family and old friends. You don't share lobster unless it's large (rare today), and if the restaurant only serves two or three prawns or a pair of small lamb chops, you don't share. Italian (non-pizza) restaurants seem to invite more sharing.

                                                        Curious. I was just thinking about new friends in this area not being much interested in sharing, and it popped into my head that this may be a local tradition. In El Paso, there were a lot of restaurants, especially steak houses, that served "family style," with huge platters of ribs, brisket, sausages and such, along with big bowls of potato salad, cole slaw, ranch beans, bread. Can't say I've been to many steak houses here, but I do read menus, and I don't recall seeing such places. Or maybe they're just not in the Plano/North Dallas area. Curious.

                                                        1. It completely depends on your dining companions. With both my friends and family, a taste is usually expected unless completely inconvenient.

                                                          I too feel a disappointment when more of the same dish are ordered, unless it's the whole flounder at Station 22, which half our table always gets (and shares). If you're going with someone you can't share with, choose a tried and true place where you've had the food before, that way any missed disappointment isn't as heartbreaking because you're had it before and will have it again.

                                                          If you're with space, ick, hypochondriac types, sharing doesn't work. I have a close friend who will share, unless her husband's around who's afraid of germs. And raw milk cheese. And oysters and mushrooms because they're icky (but loves scrapple).

                                                          If your GF shares, her father might too, but since it's a new relationship, wait until a secondary dinner.

                                                          1. Some places just seem to be better designed for sharing than others. I think one can reasonably expect to share appetizers everywhere, but when it comes to main courses, it really depends on the location. If it's an Italian/Chinese place, it's probably going to be easier to share than at a place that serves primarily burgers/sandwiches or really small portions. If I order a dish that comes with 5 prawns, I may not want to share a bit with all my 3 dining companions.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: queencru

                                                              Good point queencru! What is being shared matters. For myself, it depends on what mood I am in. On New Year's Eve I was in a non-sharing mood so I ordered shrimp biryani, knowing that John detests shrimp. Wouldn't you know it, after asking and getting a taste of the rice he kept asking for some of my shrimp! The bloke changed before my very (horrified) eyes and now says he likes shrimp! The nerve! I handled it by giving him two or three pieces of shrimp, but less than he would have liked. I was generous with the spicy rice though. He he! Lucky for him he had some very nice lamb for collateral. I'm trying to keep it light-hearted but I have seen all sides of this discussion and can see that there are valid points to be had by all. For example my most frequent dining companion and I are in love with pad thai. He always wants to get pad thai and another dish for variety and to share. Usually I am agreeable to that but once in a great while I just really want to get my pad thai on, so sometimes I lobby for us both to get pad thai, but perhaps one with chicken and one with tofu or something. Hmm. I guess this post came out as pro-sharing since now John learned that shrimp is a bodacious gift from the sea instead of loathsome. I hate to bring the tough economic times into this, but sharing tastes make sense when trying something new. And then there is the agreed upon sharing beforehand. We chowhounds near Philly are visiting an exciting Asian food court on saturday at Assi Plaza and the plan is to each get something different and share so we can learn about the many dishes offered there. The organizer has gone to a lot of trouble to get this to work, but it might be a good idea to have it buffet style or something and have everyone throws in a set amount of money. If not, your post has really helped me queencru and I thank you for that. Note to self; Do Not Order Shrimp on saturday. LOL.

                                                            2. After almost 37 years together DH and I frequently do order the same dishes. When we don't we do share tastes. Our dining out in restaurants tends to be a solitary experience. We do have lots of "foodie" friends but tend to get together and cook sharing a meal so we are all tasting the same thing. I wish some of our friends liked to dine out more often, but we don't do much of that either. We kind of like to save the $$$$ for special occasions or travel. I have a very good friend who almost never dines out unless her DH is away. Paying for someone else to prepare his food scars his soul. That is really sad. Even worse than being unwilling to share a taste of something.

                                                              1. I agree, when with close friends or family I wouldn't go so far to say I except to share, but no one ever has a problem asking for or offering tastes of their food. My cousin and I in particular like to try new restaurants together and every we order is ordered with the intention of sharing it all equally.

                                                                1. sharing tastes is like sharing love

                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: thew

                                                                    Guess it depends on the company and occasion. Can't stand it when I am having a business lunch with a client, I am the only one ordering dessert ("I'll have the ..." never uttered a "we" did I?), and waitron slaps it down halfway between the two of us with two forks! This forces me to be the "selfish" one and slide it closer to me. Maybe I have some disease, maybe I'm concerned the other one does, maybe I consider sharing a dish something too intimate an act with a stranger I've just met, or maybe I just don't wanna share. My reasons, my decision to make; not someone else's.

                                                                    Yes maybe it's a shame when several order the same thing, but hey: at least everyone got what they most dearly wanted. What's so terrible about that? I find it sad when people are pressured to compromise and get something they aren't so excited about in order to please others.

                                                                    To the OP: I find it rather presumptuous to expect others to share or to order dishes different from yours . Respect other's ways, quirks, and culture. Eating is the ultimate expression of those. I love sharing in the right setting and group, but I'd never take it badly and pout if I didn't get my way. To answer your question: the "uncooperative" ones are justified and you are greedy, to use your language.

                                                                    1. re: Leonardo


                                                                      If the client does not order dessert, you may want to reconsider as well, but that's the subject of a different thread.

                                                                        1. re: Leonardo

                                                                          You summed it up well. I have some friends I eat with and we share a lot. I usually offer some of my stuff and they do the same. There are others that I've stopped eating with because they order little and then eat from others. I hate that.

                                                                          1. re: Leonardo

                                                                            Another thing about dessert:
                                                                            Often when I am dining with certain relatives, many of them seem to be always on a "diet". So they have a certain shame about ordering dessert. Consequently, I am the only one ordering and they all expect to get a "taste" of mine leaving me with maybe 20% left to eat, all the while oohing and ahhing about how good mine sounds. At that point I usually order a second of the same thing for the rest of them to enjoy!

                                                                        2. Sometimes if we're trying a new restaurant, we will suggest ordering several entrees, appetizers, etc and getting empty plates for sharing. Most go along with it. The restaurant seems to have no trouble. Occasionally, someone will say that they don't like to share, so they order their own.

                                                                          1. When mentioning this post to my husband, he was appalled at the idea that people would be offended by sharing, as the idea of breaking and sharing bread shows trust with one's dining companions (although he has warned people not to put their forks near his plate with a threat to stab them with his fork).

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Caralien

                                                                              Umm, that actually happened to a cousin of mine who learned the hard way that Grandpa didn't like to share. He still tells the sory of being stabbed (not hard, but still) in the back of the hand by Grandpa's fork. Grandpa also felt it was his duty to instill proper manners in all of us kids - and he did. :-)

                                                                            2. I do not like being pressured to share. Often when I eat out with a good friend of mine, he wants to share dishes but ultimately, I end up only liking the entree I originally ordered, not enjoying his (we often have different ideas of what we like) and not being fully satisfied. I am willing to do this sometimes but other times I just want to enjoy my meal and do not want to compromise. Eating is supposed to be pleasurable and not a "test" of one's friendship. It's not that sharing is bad; if everyone is on board it can be a great experience. It is the expectation that is unfair and to answer your question, yes, if you always expect a taste (and it is not from your spouse), you are being greedy. As long as your are prepared for a "no" that is a different story.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                                To me, it's not a matter of greed or whatever so much as a matter of personal space. Sharing the same serving of food is rather intimate and for some people it's too close for comfort unless it's someone they care to be intimate with. When you are in a group, anyone's need for more personal space should trump anyone else's desire to share.

                                                                              2. My friends and I share bites, but do not turn all dishes into family-style, unless agreed to, i.e. appetizers. We've even done it at places like WD-50, where portions are kinda small -- I guess we all want to experience as much as we can.

                                                                                BUT I do hate it when people stick their grubby forks and fingers in my food/on my plate without being offered or asking first YUCK!!!

                                                                                1. Very interesting question and replies. I actually have something to add that has some research behind it to help explain some of the eating differences between people.

                                                                                  I'm a psychologist and recently ran across a research study that looked at peoples' food sharing habits. The bottom line was that women are more likely to share food off their plates with whomever than men. Women were happy to share, offer and take bites of other peoples' food.

                                                                                  Men on the other hand felt and behaved very differently. Their plate seemed to be their territory. When asked, the men stated that when they dished up a portion of food for themselves, they knew how much they wanted/needed and took just that amount. So, if someone else "invaded" their plate and portion by taking some, it really upset them!

                                                                                  Please note that no psychology study ever claims to be correct universally for all people. It is only valid for the group of people in the study. Still, I think it does shed some light on this issue.

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: joschus

                                                                                    I'm curious about the self-service aspect from the men; if it were a buffet (or started as a family-style, self-service meal), I don't think the OPs issue regarding sharing or tasting would have even existed.

                                                                                    Most of the men I know are likely to share, while many of the women simply put their extra food onto their spouse's plate (or exchange plates as discretely as possible).

                                                                                    1. re: Caralien

                                                                                      As I read the study, the issue wasn't where the plate-full-of-food came from - buffet, served, or family style. Once it landed on the man's plate - it was considered "his".

                                                                                      I failed to mention in my earlier post that the authors believed that the men's behavior possibly went back to the cave-man days. They had to have a certain amount of food to do their daily thing. So, it was not a matter of taste, manners or anything like that. It was - have the amount of food you need to get through the day - or, you may not survive!

                                                                                    2. re: joschus

                                                                                      Interesting how the study reflects the ancient roles of women as nurturers and sharers and men as territorial hunters. Or maybe, as science is now speculating, it's our Neanderthal genes? '-)

                                                                                    3. It also depends on the type of restaurant or dish. If one were to go for dim sum for example, sharing is the norm. Sharing is also the norm at a Chinese banquet, where sometimes the waitstaff will by default distribute the dish into individual portions. You might also encounter that at an Ethiopian place, where different dishes may be plated on a large piece of injera. Similarly, at oyster bars or certain French places, a big serving from the raw bar is also meant to be shared.

                                                                                      1. I know! With close friends, I mean will it kill you to have me know what it taste like?!

                                                                                        I never had this problem before though but I will imagine it to be annoying, like even acquaintances offer me a taste.

                                                                                        1. I never expect people to share but will always offer and share, and friends know that my plate is open. I had a certain culture of eating inoculated at an early age and, with those who share the same culture, it's common to place the best pieces on another's plate.

                                                                                          Of course, there's also being bi- or tri-cultural, and it gets confusing juggling a lot of different values, but I will generally adopt what I think/have learned is the way to do something in my companion's culture. I don't even know if I'm making sense.

                                                                                          1. While I come from a family-style, "my food is yours" culture and family, I don't have any expectation of sharing unless the food is being served family style. I enjoy it, and my family and most of my friends do it, but sharing comes from an offer to share, not an obligation.

                                                                                            And personally, one of my pet peeves from dining with some members of my family, is the obligation to order something different in order to "share." You know, sometimes I don't want something different. I want to eat an entree of Item A, and not Item B with a taste of Item A. I don't feel under the obligation to order something I don't really want just so somebody else can have a taste of it. If they want to taste Item B so much, they can order it themselves.

                                                                                            1. My Jack and I always swap plates around, or order several small things to share, and we have a number of good friends who are happy to do the same. One of our favorite couples actually enjoys a “full swap” (our racy term for when all four plates travel around the table.) Obviously we try to be discreet about it. It is discussed first w/ others, though in some cases I think assent is presumed because of our history – either someone will say “shall we order some things for the group?” or “I’m thinking about x, what do you want?” I like the ability to try different tastes, and I can’t possibly eat a whole entrée, so am glad to let the guys have an extra share. I do feel just a bit saddened when we have to miss out, just because it’s ideal for me, but I realize not everyone feels the same. We even have a good friend who doesn’t like to share at Chinese or Indian places, where I thought it was typical for folks to put everything in the middle and share. I think they would rather have something they are more certain they will like, and also, they are better able to judge their consumption (whether to limit it or be sure they get their fair share.) Some people are also just a bit more concerned about possible germs and even if they keep their flatware, don’t want to be eating food someone else has touched in some way. So, my answer is that, if it is typical amongst your friends, it’s fine to feel disappointed when you are turned down. But it would not be fine to let it show. :)

                                                                                              1. You are treading on thin water. If I am with my fiance or my kids (all adults) or very, very good friends or family members, I will ask. "Can I have a taste?" if the dish looks incredibly delicious. I will not ask anyone else outside of my bullpen. If someone who is not in that bullpen, and I am out to dinner with them, asks if I would like a taste of their dish I will say "No thank you". I'm funny that way.

                                                                                                1. In general I do not like to share unless the people/place are designed to do so (family style, small plates, etc.) My Dh loves to share and will often frown when I order fish (he eats shellfish but no fin fish) and/or asparagus (which he hates), but since I get neither at home, I take advantage of ordering it out. Since I am the least picky eater in the family and among our friends, when sharing I am typically the one who ends up compromsing what they order.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                    Yeah, that's sort of the line I walk, too. I mean, I don't ever want to guilt or be guilted into ordering something I don't really want for the benefit of the entire table. But, I for some reason, I feel I have an obligation to make sure everyone at the table can enjoy the food everyone else orders.

                                                                                                  2. I love to share because I get to try more things. I'll do it at dives and I'll do it at four star restaurants. But I won't share at business lunches/dinners as it's probably not the most appropriate thing to do.

                                                                                                    And I also realize that everybody doesn't share my views about sharing food as I do. That's OK (even though I might be a wee bit disappointed). It's their food and their business.

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                      Hello... Re: getting to try more items, and using your example of four star restaurants and dives: for the former, the tasting menu gets the job done; for the latter, I just go back the next day/week/etc. (it's a dive -- how hard can that be?).. Not trying to be a colossal blow-hard or condescending here, but is there no place anymore for delay of gratification? Granted, I'm at the other extreme and will wait till we've eaten up the Oreos in the cupboard before I go pick up some Fig Newtons, but is there not some pleasure yet to be derived from looking forward to a return restaurant visit to try the stuff I didn't try last time? Especially with mid-priced or casual dining spots. I'll go with the garlic frites today, and next week maybe the sweet potato fries will do. Otherwise, it seems like a 'harem'-type approach to dining -- must dip the spoon into every dish I see, lest I feel deprived of immediate satisfaction of curiosity. Must I know immediately what everyone's selection tastes like? Is there no more honor in anticipation? Some will say "life's too short", so bring it all on. Man, life seems incredibly long -- it's ones' patience (mine) that is rather short... Kvetching (again, mine) aside, enjoy it all, if that be your will...

                                                                                                      1. re: silence9

                                                                                                        At a four star restaurant, I don't necessarily want to order the tasting menu. Sometimes a la carte is better (guess you haven't been to Babbo in NYC where the hits are not on the tasting menu). And I guess you haven't seen the tasting menus where you get choices. So I'll order one choice and DH will order the other to maximize our options. And in the cases of dives, I don't eat out a lot because I find it's healthier to eat at home. So going to the dive the next day (or week, etc) is not always an option for me.

                                                                                                        And just like I find it's other people's food and business when they don't share, it's my business if I want to share with the people around me.

                                                                                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                          Hello... No, I have not been to Babbo. Sorry you felt it necessary to rub that in my face. I've never been to a harem before either, for the record... Like I said above, enjoy it all (not that you'd need nor want my blessing). I thought we were chatting amicably here, about an interesting topic. If that goal was not clearly expressed from my own post, I sincerely beg your pardon...