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Etiquette question: Constructing your own sandwich from a breakfast combo plate

Is there anything, in terms of etiquette, wrong with someone constructing their own "breakfast sandwich" when they order, for example, a typical breakfast combo plate of eggs, bacon, hash browns, toast, etc.?

I ask because we were at IHOP the other day having breakfast and my friend's son (a teen) made his own breakfast sandwich with the slices of toast, the scrambled eggs and bacon he got from his "Quick Two Egg" breakfast combo.

It didn't really strike me as rude, per se, but it did look sort of odd.

Your thoughts?

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  1. I can't imagine what would be rude about it. People combine their dishes all the time in ways that they find best-tasting, whether it be dipping the pot roast bite into the mashed potatos, or putting ice cream on top of the cake.
    But since you asked, is it rude when I take apart my breakfast sandwich and eat the individual parts by themselves? Because that's become my new favorite thing...

    3 Replies
    1. re: hyacinthgirl

      "a teen" and a boy no less, nothing is out of the question!

      1. heck no. in fact, it's been my experience that it's pretty common practice. back in the days when i could eat toast, i had a similar ritual, though i'd pile a bite each of the eggs, bacon & tomato onto small pieces of toast torn off one at at a time because i'm weird like that :) but it's the same principle as when you get a breakfast deli platter that comes with the bagel or bialy and all the "fixins" separate. put it together however you like...or don't, and eat each item on its own.

        1. Let me start by saying that I love breakfast sandwiches. However, if I was trying to be polite, I'd create that same taste sensation by forking a piece of toast, a little piece of egg, and some bacon. I think it would also be okay if I was using the toast like a cracker and putting the fixings on with a fork. Something about making a sandwich at the table and eating that way seems wrong to me.

          1 Reply
          1. re: soypower

            I agree. This would strike me as very odd behavior. Where do you draw the line? Go out to dinner, get a bread basket and an order of pork chops, mashed potatoes, and peas. Pile everything on the bread and chow down? I think not. If you want a sandwich, order one.

          2. While I think it might be a bit rude if having brunch in a less casual place, and say, flipping over two eggs benedict to make a sandwich....I think the combo plate in casual places is fare game. In fact, any time I have a two egg breakfast, I always do this with my last egg. I love breakfast sandwiches !

            2 Replies
            1. re: im_nomad

              My first slice of toast is for dipping into the yolks of my over medium eggs. My second slice of toast becomes the covers for my egg whites and bacon sandwich. I'm not found of egg whites but I won't waste them and they taste better in sandwich form.

              picawicca, my husband often makes sliders from the rolls that come with his (and my) meal and the meat and veggies on his plate. Granted he generally only does this at the casual diner where we are regulars and never in a fine dining establishment. The cooks there know he does it, take no offense and the wait staff humors him with extra rolls.

              1. re: morwen

                I always get dry wheat toast and simply pick up the eggs with my fork and then slip a piece of toast underneath and then eat them open face with my bacon on top sometimes. It's neat, it's unobtrusive and the toast soaks up the yolk so none gets wasted.

            2. If it's a casual breakfast place, I see nothing wrong with it. The last time I went out to breakfast, I did the same thing. They didn't really have a breakfast sandwich with the fixings that I wanted, so I just ordered things separately and made it myself.

              1. if you're on an interview - bad etiquette.

                any other time - totally ok. who doesn't do this?

                1 Reply
                1. re: dtud

                  I don't. I've actually never seen anyone do this.

                2. my husband does this with his 2nd piece of toast, usually. we also sometimes read the paper at the table. avert your eyes, we are comfortable with it. if i have to suffer through IHOP or any similar equivalency of awful, then i find ways to cope.

                  1. I don't think that ettiquette really applies at a pplace like IHOP.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: haggisdragon

                      I see your point but can't completely agree. Making a sandwich out of your breakfast items at an IHOP - sure, no problem. But to say etiquette doesn't apply at all? Would you like to be sitting across from someone who's eating sunnyside-up eggs with their hands, chewing with their mouth open and spraying food around, etc?

                    2. I'm not that fond of eggs, but i will eat them scrambled (well done, not runny.) If I am not someplace fancy I often make an open face sandwhich . You just have to be careful eating it so that you aren't dripping bits of egg or crumbles of bacon. The knife and fork method mentioned by several others makes a lot of sense for nicer places.

                      1. I sometimes order combos specifically with an eye towards making a sandwich (or whatever) out of them., if they don't have quite what I want.

                        1. My thought is that even if it is not on the menu could you not simply ask and see if your breakfast can be served as a sandwich? When it comes to breakfast some places are a little more forgiving on requests. It never hurts to ask, right?

                          Otherwise I have to be honest... I sort of see it as playing with your food a bit. Kinda weird IMHO

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: Allice98

                            Playing with food and weird eating habits are something many of us admit to here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/531018

                            1. re: Boccone Dolce

                              Ok, "wired" was a bad choice of wording. I will be a bit more blunt.

                              I don't care what you do in your home. Please don't play with your food in front of me though. And I won't torture you with some of my silly home eating habits either. I just find it all more friendly and polite, that's all.

                              1. re: Allice98

                                Not to challenge your opinion Alice, which is valid, how would this be different than going to a sandwich bar and building a sandwich from the various ingredients?

                                I am assuming that "construction" can be accomplished without extensive touching or manipulating the food, and that the end result can be consumed in a mannerly way.

                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                  I just believe that food should be eaten as served - you did after all chose what you ordered yourself correct? If you choose to go out to eat you should go somehwere where they are serving what you would like to consume. You may certainly add condiments to your liking, but if you want a breakfast sandwich, please order one, that's all. Ask the kitchen if they could please prepare some thing special for you. I am refering to eating when out, not eating in your own home. Again there, do what you wish.

                                  In the case of a sandwich bar the entire point of being there is to make a sandwich. You are there to construct one. I just think that aside from buffet type places that the "construction" should remain in the kitchen.

                                  Aside from that breakfast is certainly considered to be the least causal meal of the day, so if you are going to play with your food at least do it then instead of at a more formal meal.

                                  I will say though that people do often use the excuse of a not so upscale establishment as an excuse to not use good manners when dining out. I for one have never been able to distinguish between using bad manners at one place and wonderful table manners at another more upscale establishment,. If I wouldn't create a breakfast sandwich out of the offerings on my plate at the Ritz I wouldn't do it at iHop either. I do however know many people that do distinguish and I haven't ever been sure why. I certainly am the first to admit that my upbringing had a lot to do with this. I just consider this to be polite to both my dining companions and my servers.

                                  1. re: Allice98

                                    thank you for the well thought out reply.

                                    1. re: Allice98

                                      1. Agreed, Alice98, well stated.

                                      2. Why can't one achieve the elements of a sandwich in a bite by bringing together toast, egg and bacon on the fork? It may be a chance for this teenager to practice his fork and knife skills.

                                      1. re: Lizard

                                        Must be a kid thing - our son (now 22) will make a sandwich out of practically anything we serve at home as long as it's just family at the table. He doesn't do it when we have guests or when eating at a restaurant though. I guess he was raised partially right!

                            2. Unless eating a sandwich is bad etiquette, I can't see how assembling a sandwich out of acceptable components at IHOP is bad etiquette. At least to me, scrambled eggs and bacon on two slices of toast are acceptable sandwich components, and likely less expensive than ordering a prepared sandwich containing similar ingredients, if even available.

                              1. I used to get the McDo's Big Breakfast precisely for that, with the sausage patty and a wad of egg stuffed into the biscuit. Now I get the 2-sausage-McMuffin deal with a hash-browns cake, break that in two pieces and stuff each one into a muffin. I usually do this in the car, though, and not while I'm driving, because I am not a teenager. However, in about a year and a half I will be 70, and then I shall once again be comfortable doing it in public. Eccentricity is one of age's greatest privileges...

                                My old favorite fast-food sandwich was a midnight snack I used to get from the snack bar near the barracks when I was in the Air Force. They made these gooey thick grilled cheese sandwiches and luscious greasy fries, and I'd take these back to my room and stuff as many fries into the sandwich as it would hold. Oh, rapture! But that was almost fifty years and seventy-five pounds ago...

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: Will Owen

                                  I feel like politeness and manners exist for a reason. Most often, the reason is to be courteous to others. If one's actions aren't adversely effecting anyone else, then it's fine.

                                  "Something about making a sandwich at the table and eating that way seems wrong to me"
                                  "Food should be eaten how it is served"
                                  "It seems weird to me"
                                  "Please don't play with your food in front of me"

                                  All these phrases are indicating an arbitrary desire for your companion to eat the way you want him/her to. It's equivalent to the sandwich maker saying something along the lines of, "It is what I like" or "I don't feel right eating everything separate"

                                  I think the person has the right to eat their dish as they please, and the polite thing to do if you disagree with their methods is to clam up and eat in silence. I find it odd that some of my companions eat pizza and buffalo wings with a knife and fork, but I don't consider them rude for having other preferences.
                                  I'd feel ridiculous for telling them how to enjoy their meal.

                                  1. re: lost squirrel

                                    I think that it is important to distinguish one thing. No one here with an opinion has said that they actually tell their dining companions to eat a certain way. A polite dining companion does not give one peep or even a look that something isn't pleasing them. They go wih the flow and don't say anything. Please do not assume that anyone here who is expressing an opinion as requested by the OP goes around telling people what to do.

                                    There are some of us, regardless of how young, that still subscribe to the writtien out instructions of, for example, Miss Manners. There are entire books written on the polite ways to eat. I follow those perscribed and socially aceptable rules and just prefer to eat around those that do the same. I am allowed to have the preference.

                                    I would still never tell anone who is not a child how to eat in front of me.

                                    1. re: Allice98

                                      To be perfectly honest, the only way you could offend me at the table is to chew noisily and/or with your mouth open, slurp and gobble, stuff like that. If you can build your sandwich neatly and eat it without spectacle, I will probably admire your handiwork.

                                      I don't wish to give offense, either, and usually manage that pretty well. I did cause my favorite waitress at Pann's to make a show of averting her eyes once, when I cut my eggs into my grits and poured gravy over the lot, but I just put it down to her unfamiliarity with Nashville practices...

                                      1. re: Allice98

                                        I hate to be a stickler, but are there really "socially acceptable rules" written down somewhere that state, "food shall be eaten in the manner it's presented" or "you shall not combine the items on your plate" ?

                                        Using the IHOP example, don't they have little trays of jelly or butter or syrup that you can use to modify your pancakes or toast? That's definitely adding things together on your plate to make it more appealing/delicious. What is the difference between adding bacon, egg to a piece of toast and adding jelly to toast?

                                        It seems to me that there aren't specific rules for this sort of thing, it's just accepted that butter or jelly go on toast, but why not eggs and bacon too? Is it a condiment size issue?

                                        1. re: lost squirrel

                                          I remember taking a foreign visitor to a buffet breakfast once. He was amazed at the selection, and on his first trip he tried small portions of just about everything. As many of us do, when he went back for his seconds, he only took the things he liked best.

                                          I have to admit, it was the only time I ever saw someone come back with a plate full of bacon. Nothing else, just bacon. I guess I wasn't wearing my poker face because he asked if he had done something wrong. I took a deep breath and told him that while it was very unusual, it was not wrong, it was a buffet and you got to take as much of whatever you wanted as you could eat, but it was bad manners to take a large serving and not finish it. He had no problem complying with that.

                                          Sometimes its a fine line between good manners and common behavior.

                                          1. re: lost squirrel

                                            I think this is a good question, squirrel. Since reading this, I've been trying to understanding my response.

                                            I wonder if it has to do with making a plan that relinquishes all need for silverware-- making a sandwich to eat the food in precisely the combination that can be achieved by making combined bites with a fork and knife. That is, he can get the flavour combination he seeks without having to make this a package he can eat with his hands.

                                            Meanwhile, jams and butter are typically spread on toast, probably because achieving the same flavour combination using a fork and knife is less possible and more messy.

                                            It doesn't hurt anyone, so in that regard, I am not opposed by this boy's decision. But he should be prepared for the raised eyebrows this behaviour will invite, and he should know that if he behaves that way in a more professional setting, or in any setting where he wants to make a positive impression, things may not happen as he wishes.

                                            1. re: lost squirrel

                                              Quickly stated, yes, there are rule books for eating. Please check out any ettiquette book and you will find examples of how to eat many different foods.

                                              As I stated previously you may of course add condiments to modify food. Most acceptable! The come out with your food usually and is is always polite to use them.

                                              The issue I and I know many others have is taking a meal that comes out clearly intended to be eaten with a knife and fork and turning it into a hand eaten meal. It is always acceptable to use a knife and fork to eat. It is often not so acceptable to eat with your hands. Taking something that you ordered that was meant for flatware consumption and eating with your hands is certainly questionable. The toast was meant for hand consumption in this case. The eggs however were not.

                                              I think that often times people do really forget one thing - just because it tastes good, or feels good to you, or you want to do something it doesn't mean that it should be done, at least not in public.

                                              1. re: Allice98

                                                The first time I sat with Mrs. O, before she was Mrs. O, and a platter of fried chicken, and I picked up my drumstick as I (and everyone else I knew) had done since time immemorial, there was a sharp intake of breath from across the table. "What ARE you DOING?" she asked. "Eating chicken," I replied. That was our first serious argument, which she strove to win by whipping out Amy Vanderbilt's etiquette book and showing me the passage that proclaimed the eating of chicken with one's fingers to be allowable only in the most intimate and least formal of family settings, and then only on picnics. I replied that if this were the case, then the Colonel's chicken would be advertised as "fork-lickin' good" ... almost thirty years later we are still in a state of armed truce on the subject.

                                                1. re: Will Owen

                                                  Will Owen: Rebel without a moist towelette! ;-D>

                                                2. re: Allice98

                                                  Well, the burden of proving this is a matter for Miss Manners really isn't on me. I never claimed there were rules stating that one shouldn't make a breakfast sandwich out of the requisite ingredients.

                                                  By the way, "Meant for flatware consumption" is a great phrase.

                                                  I was about to base my next argument on the situation Servorg made below about spouse 1 and 2, but I'm afraid I may lose on this. I just checked the IHOP website and I couldn't find any references to breakfast sandwiches. Maybe the people there really don't want people having breakfast sandwiches, yikes!

                                        2. I don't really see the difference between neatly assembling the food on your plate into a sandwich and ordering a sandwich off the menu (I assume that IHOP has other sandwiches on their menu). Why is it a problem to eat one type of sandwich but not another. Or is it the assembly that offends? So I shouldn't spread the given jam on my toast and eat it sandwich style?

                                          Is the assembly of the sandwich more or less offensive that disassembling food prior to eating? I see that all the time. A sandwich eater rejecting the top piece of bread and eating it open face. A burger eater removing the given lettuce, tomato or rejecting the bun part way through eating.

                                          31 Replies
                                          1. re: Sooeygun

                                            If you're going to make such good sense you have no place on this thread! ;-D> And just to take your ideas and expand on them a bit, what about places that serve you a burger with the lettuce, tomato, onion and what have you on the side. They expect you to take the top bun off, add mayo or mustard or ketchup (horrors!) and then reassemble. Oh, no! Disassembly and assembly back to back!! Double horrors... ;-D>

                                            1. re: Sooeygun

                                              I suspect if you were to check with Emily Post or Ms. Manners you would find that in fact, no you should not spread the jam on the toast and eat it like a sandwich. I could be mistaken, but I believe that the preferred method is to only spread condiments (butter, jam, honey, etc.) on the piece of bread you intend to eat, which you have already torn from the main piece.

                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                Piece of bread, yes, I was just thinking that: I saw someone eat a dinner roll like a bread and butter sandwich and was most definitely unimpressed. But I think toast can be eaten in the half slices provided, yes? One doesn't need to break off pieces of the toast? (Still, slathering butter and jam on all of it and making sandwiches although not very seemly.)

                                                1. re: Lizard

                                                  Toast would be an "open face" sandwich, and it is not torn into pieces and eaten like untoasted bread as you point out, Lizard. My example above of the burger with the lettuce, et al on the side with the buns already on the meat brings to mind what my wife does. Which is to leave off the tomatoes and some of the lettuce and then turning that into a little salad on her plate and eating it with knife and fork.

                                                  Here we have the opposite "transgression" in which she has eaten something that is intended to be consume as a "sandwich" and turned it into "utensil" food. Is this then also unacceptable because this is not what the restaurant "intended?" The absurdity of of that thought makes my head hurt a little. ;-D>

                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                    I've been known to eat a burger (even with the bread, although typically only the bottom half) using a knife and fork. I don't know that I'm helping here.

                                                    (I have, however, never eaten a Snickers bar with a fork and knife, so I suppose that's something.)

                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                      I don't think it's ever inappropriate to treat something a bit more formally than intended. For example, I for one always eat pizza with a knife & fork (etiquette aside, I've found that I'm much less likely to burn the roof of my mouth off with this method). Just as it's always better to be a little overdressed to any given social occasion rather than a little underdressed. Your wife is completely appropriate with her "burger salad" behavior. If she were to eat the tomato slice with her hands, that would be another story.

                                                      In short - it's not a transgression to go the other way. I do agree with you on the subject of toast, it's perfectly appropriate to pick up a piece of toast as it's presented (whether whole or half), spread it with butter or jam and eat it without tearing off a small bite first as you would with a dinner roll.

                                                      1. re: BobB

                                                        And what of the difference between the "unconstructed" burger which involves taking off the top bun, slathering on your condiments of choice and piling on the lettuce, tomatoes and onion and the "construction" of one's own breakfast sandwich? How are those two actions different in that one is acceptable and one is not?

                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                          Well, as I've stated in an earlier post, I don't find the construction of a breakfast sandwich in a place as informal as IHOP to be a problem at all. But I do think it's fairly easy to point out that the "construction" of a burger as you describe is standard dining behavior and precisely what is intended when the burger is served that way, while making a sandwich out of a plate of bacon & eggs is not standard or what the cook had in mind when plating the dish. To claim that there's no difference between them is disingenuous.

                                                          Looking at it a little deeper - there are some foods that are perfectly acceptable to eat with one's hands, like burgers and most other sandwiches (hot-open-faced ones being an exception), and other things that are not appropriate to eat with one's hands, like a plate of bacon & eggs. The real question here is, is it acceptable to take something not intended to be eaten with the hands (bacon & eggs) and turn it into something that is (a bacon & egg sandwich). And my feeling on that is that it's perfectly acceptable in an informal setting like IHOP, less so in a white-tablecloth restaurant.

                                                          1. re: BobB

                                                            Of course bacon is indeed eaten with ones hands normally. And a burger patty served to someone on a low carb diet is eaten with utensils normally. So if the low carb eater passes over to their non-low carb diet spouse half of their uneaten hamburger patty, and they stick it between two slices of bread they have committed some sort of faux pau then? The "hands on" method of consumption is not even about potentially messy vs. non messy, because if that was the distinction we would all be eating BBQ'd ribs with knife and fork.

                                                            As to the chef plating the food - they could / can of course be asked to put the eggs and bacon on top of the bread at a place like IHOP and (if they remember) will be glad to do so I feel certain. Social conventions like this get handed down as if they were written on stone tablets. I guess it takes a food heretic or two to pull the scales from the eyes of the devout believers and let the chips, fish, bacon and eggs fall where they may. ;-D>

                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                              Bacon eaten with the hands yes, as long as it's fried crisp. Eggs (other than hard-boiled at a picnic) are not intended to be eaten with the hands unless they're in a sandwich. Are you really implying that it's just a mindless social convention that you shouldn't eat sunnyside-up eggs with your fingers? Do it at home if you like, but not in public please.

                                                              Once again, I distinguish (as I'm not sure you do) between appropriate behavior in informal settings vs. more formal ones. There are a number of messy foods (the BBQ ribs you mention are a prime example - buffalo wings are another) that it is completely appropriate to eat with one's hands - and for that very reason BBQ joints are extremely informal and (if they're any good) provide you with a nice stack of paper napkins.

                                                              That doesn't mean it's OK to pick up your veal parmesan in a white-tablecloth Italian restaurant and eat it with your hands. If you can't see the difference, I can't help you.

                                                              1. re: BobB

                                                                Please take notice though. There are really not foods intended to be eaten with your hands served in finer dining establishments. They do this in part on purpose.

                                                                While there are many foods that are served with the intention of being eaten with your hands in informal dining establishments, there really isn't a good reason to eat it all with your hands just because it feels good. If they intended the dining situation to be eaten entirely with your hands the food would be served Ethiopian or Medieval style for example.

                                                                I think most people do know which foods are appropriate to pick up and eat when they are served them.

                                                                1. re: Allice98

                                                                  Oh, I agree completely, that why you don't see buffalo wings on the menu at Le Cirque. There's an unspoken agreement between restaurant and diner in such places to maintain a certain level of decorum. And yes, I think most people (even Servorg) know when it's appropriate to pick up food with their hands and when it's not, (s)he's just pushing the argument to extremes here for the sake of contrariness. I understand how that can be fun. ;-)

                                                                2. re: BobB

                                                                  So, white table cloth Italian restaurant at lunch time somewhere in Gotham City. Said restaurant offers a veal parmesan sandwich, which one spouse has. The other gets veal parmesan on a plate and then sticks it between two slices of bread to consume. Do we have a breach of etiquette by spouse number two?

                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                    Yes. Spouse number two in this overly-contrived, hair-splitting, unrealistic "example" is going to look like a doofus doing this in a fancy restaurant. If you want a veal parm sandwich order one.

                                                                    1. re: BobB

                                                                      Well spouse number two didn't realize until seeing spouse number one bite into their sandwich with gusto how delicious that looked. And why would they look any more of a doofus eating their quietly self-constructed sandwich than spouse number one? Both end up eating veal parmesan sandwiches. One just happened to come to the table already between the two slices of bread and the other was put there after it came to the table.

                                                                      How about the low carb burger example? There have been times my wife has run out of meat on her burger before she ran out of bun and I have passed over a piece of my bunless hamburger patty to her and she has then put it between the left over bun pieces. Has she transgressed? Inquiring minds want to know. ;-D>

                                                                      And splitting hairs is "exactly" what this thread is all about. Social conventions are nothing but hair splitting, and which way they get split all depends upon where you live.

                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                        "Social conventions are nothing but hair splitting..."

                                                                        Sigh. This is why I should never let myself get tempted into etiquette discussions. As I have stated elsewhere (and I should pay more attention to my own advice), "topics involving manners (and even more so, etiquette) almost always get overheated because those who believe that such things matter and those who believe that they're an elitist plot differ not just in their taste in food, but in their approaches to life. To the former, the latter are uncivilized boors, while to the latter, the former are snobbish prigs."

                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                          Servorg, I think I love you. haha

                                                                          It's a great example, we've now come to the point in the argument where the outcome/reasoning is based on the location of construction.

                                                                          I agree with Bob below, etiquette discussions often end up in the garbage but I'm enjoying this one.

                                                                          This reminds me of a situation a few months ago, I was in the deep deep countryside (of Japan) and was taken to a famous 'hamburg' shop. Hamburg is, generally, a hamburger without the buns and often smothered in some sort of demi-glauce/cream/etc.. sauce.
                                                                          As a sandwich freak (the reason I got into this discussion in the first place), I took the bread on the table, cut it open and made a hamburger. My dining companions looked at me with shock (not due to my lack of manners, but because they had never seen this done before) and the waitress commented on what a great idea it was to combine the two. I wonder what would have happened if Allice was my waitress? Haha

                                                                          1. re: lost squirrel

                                                                            Just having some fun with the ideas brought forth here. And as I think (hope) BobB sensed I am taking the Devil's Advocate stance here. I am not grabbing my over medium eggs between my over sized mitts and chowing down on them.

                                                                            I do enjoy eating Ethiopian food in which you tear off pieces of the Injera and scoop up bits of the various things you are eating. Sort of making tiny sandwiches if you will. And I probably would have made a good Hawaiian (knife and fork - no need for those bruddah!). I also worked in Middle East for a few years and traditional eating was done with ones hands a lot - so I'm used to the concept.

                                                                            Your screen name makes me smile as back in the day before I retired from Executive Search one of my favorite jokes when a I found a perfect candidate for some really difficult search was "Even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then."

                                                                            Hope you have a chow worthy weekend.

                                                                      2. re: Servorg

                                                                        There's also another reason by many for ordering a plate of food, as in you veal parmesan example( further added to include eggplant parmesan), as opposed to an already prepared sandwich....

                                                                        When ordering plates, the portions are larger and usually there are ample leftovers for another sandwich or meal later.

                                                                        btw....does using bread to sop up sauce, gravy or soup qualify for discussion on this topic?

                                                                        1. re: fourunder

                                                                          In my experience the appropriateness of using bread in this manner is a cultural question - in some cultures it's fine, in others it's inappropriate to even leave bread on the table once the entree is served. Personally I have no problem with it.

                                                                  2. re: BobB

                                                                    while making a sandwich out of a plate of bacon & eggs is not standard or what the cook had in mind when plating the dish. To claim that there's no difference between them is disingenuous....

                                                                    substitute *Huevos Rancheros* for the *bacon & eggs*. Would the same still hold true?


                                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                                      I'm not sure what you're saying here. Do you mean it's normal to put a plate of huevos rancheros between two slices of bread and eat it that way? Do you eat this dish with your fingers? I don't think so...

                                                                      1. re: BobB

                                                                        Do you eat this dish with your fingers? I don't think so...


                                                                        Funny guy BobB.....How about soft flour tortillas.....every time I have ever ordered or have been served the dish. If you looked at the pictures in the Google link, you will see there are many ways to plate the dish.

                                                                        btw. I have known many commercial cooks in my day. Almost all would give nary a thought to any food once it left the kitchen....unless it was returned back.....either as a complaint, uneaten or half eaten.

                                                                        1. re: fourunder

                                                                          If a dish is plated to be eaten with the fingers, eat it with the fingers, if not, not. It's not complicated.

                                                                          As for the chef caring what you do with the food once it leaves the kitchen, you're quite right. I did not mean to imply you shouldn't eat it with your hands because of the chef's concerns, just that the difference between adding the intended condiments and toppings to a burger (S.O.P.) and making a sandwich out of something that was not intended to be a sandwich is so obvious that to deny it is to be intentionally obtuse. Which there seems to be more than a bit of on this subthread.

                                                                          1. re: BobB

                                                                            "...just that the difference between adding the intended condiments and toppings to a burger (S.O.P.) and making a sandwich out of something that was not intended to be a sandwich is so obvious that to deny it is to be intentionally obtuse."

                                                                            I like to think of it as pointing out the fact that there is no difference between the kitchen putting something between two slices of bread or bun, and the intended consumer doing it. Intentionally obtuse or taking satisfaction in pointing out when the Emperor is naked. Absurdity or fastidiousness taken to the Nth degree? Some come down on one side, some on the other. But my point about social conventions and what constitutes bad manners and what constitutes an overreaching attempt to control others past all reason is not with out merit when it comes to debating the two.

                                                                3. re: BobB

                                                                  "Just as it's always better to be a little overdressed to any given social occasion rather than a little underdressed." That depends on one's cultural background. The upper-class British (and old-fashioned New England) attitude is that it's better to be underdressed, because "showing off" is a deadly social sin. British lower classes and Mediterranean cultures generally prefer overdressing.

                                                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                                                    Consider me Mediterranean then - I wouldn't be caught dead in a T-shirt and sneakers at any occasion more formal than a cookout. ;-)

                                                                    1. re: BobB

                                                                      You are obviously not in Los Angeles, where T-shirt and sneakers is considered Business Casual as long as one's pants are long! But what I meant was that if one is invited to a party (anywhere but LA) and no dress code is specified, then good-quality slacks with blazer and tie are a better choice than a tuxedo. The English gentleman's well-worn tweeds are a case in point, as are by contrast the sharply chic suits of upper-crust Frenchmen and Italians. The Italian male's attachment to "la bella figura" is exactly opposite the English belief that a gentleman's clothing should never attract notice.

                                                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                                                        I think we're on the same page here - I wouldn't consider a tux for any event that did not clearly specify black tie. I'm just more comfortable in good slacks and a sport coat than in jeans.

                                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                                          Mrs. O, who is of the overdress-is-better persuasion, reserved a particularly intense level of scorn for any party invitation specifying "Black Tie Optional", which was common during our later years in Nashville. "What the hell does THAT mean?" she'd fume. "Black tie is ALWAYS optional after five!" I have to say that a "dinner jacket", as she calls a tuxedo, was the first major item of clothing she bought for me, and that I found it the most comfortable costume I've ever worn in public. Unfortunately, that was about forty pounds ago...

                                                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                                                            The jfoods attended a Black Tie Optional Charity event recently. Interesting was that probably 40% were in Tuxs, 50% in dark suits and, get this, 10% in slacks and open shirts. Mrs jfood shuddered, probably as Mrs O would.

                                                        2. I, like some of the above posters, eat a *lot* of stuff with a knife and fork. I'm not a big fan of breakfast sandwiches (except for sausage on-a-biscuit).

                                                          However, this brought to mind a restaurant we go to every other month. Their steak is out of this world, and their bread is just amazing (They get it daily from a bakery on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, NY). With the bread, they offer an olive oil-based dip.

                                                          When we go, I make a few slices of steak, and then place them (gingerly) on two pieces of bread (which I've carefully sliced). I then dip this "sandwich" in the bread-dip and eat.

                                                          Is it rude? Yep, to some people. But I *just can't resist* the combination of flavors and textures.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: shaogo

                                                            A case of houndly pleasure and instincts trumping (a supposedly) minor etiquette taboo. Well done, shaogo! Bravo.

                                                          2. How someone enjoys their food at my table is no problem as long as they're being neat about it. How someone enjoys their food at another table is no business of anyone's unless they are so disruptive that they are disturbing the tables all around them, in which case it also becomes a problem of the management. If someone turning their combo into a sandwich is odd enough for you that you are disturbed by it, then don't eat with that person anymore. If it's someone at another table, switch seats so you don't have to watch or just keep your attention on your own dining companions, where it should be.

                                                            At an IHOP the waiter is not going to run back into the kitchen to alert the cook of the desecration and rearranging of a combo into a sandwich and even if he/she did, I can't imagine an IHOP cook getting his/her panties in a twist about it.

                                                            1. food sticks with the KISS method. If the restaurant serves breakfast sandwiches they expect people to eatbreakfast sandwiches at the table. Ifthey do not offer or willing to make one if not on the menu then one should refrain from the stack 'n bite.

                                                              1. As someone who abides by local customs when eating out, gotta agree that just about anything goes at IHOP. Love it. I've seen folks make bacon and egg soft tacos using the pancakes.

                                                                If nothing else, assembling a sandwich out of what's on one's plate provides balance in the universe against all those Atkins/Paleo folks who disassemble sandwiches and only eat the innards.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                  pancake soft tacos... interesting. and while I can imagine someone eating that with their hands, somehow it doesn't translate to a "pancake sandwich." which as far as I can imagine would never be eaten as finger food.

                                                                2. Sounds like this has more to do with the teen's relationship with your family and YOUR definition of odd, than with the specific behavior itself.

                                                                  The way I was brought up I wouldn't have dreamed of doing that unless I knew your family very well and was pretty sure it would be OK. But then, I'm pretty old.

                                                                  But if it happened with my own son's friend today, and at IHOP?.................. why in the world not?