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What do you think about double dipping?

Before the Sienfeld episode, no such concept existed.

Now I can see not double dipping at a party, where there are many people, and a disease could spread. But if you and a friend are sharing a plate of spring rolls, I see nothing wrong with going back for more sauce.

If not, then what about using chopsticks...that's got to be just as dirty.

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  1. Double dipping, both in name and concept, existed long before Seinfeld. I remember a no double dipping rule among my swimming teammates in the 70s whenever someone brought chips and salsa, a favorite snack, to practice.

    My rules: if it's just family or close friends and all consent, it's fine. If at a party, in a public place or anywhere else,or if one in your party of family or friends doesn't want to, it's not okay.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Isolda

      Agreed! except for your bit about the 70s. I have no memories of the 70s ;)

    2. A waitress long ago settled it for me:

      If you love 'em, you let 'em double dip.

      Casual cocktail party? Break that chip in half before you dip if you plan to double up.

      1 Reply
      1. <If not, then what about using chopsticks...that's got to be just as dirty.>

        According to the chopstick etiquette I've read, you serve yourself from a communal platter using the ends of the chopsticks that don't touch your mouth.

        I don't double-dip unless I'm at home, although I don't think I'd notice if anyone did this at a party or at a restaurant. But I got yelled at by an old lady at Fairway because she didn't see that I'd torn my bread into pieces and hence was *not* double-dipping the olive oil. I swear. Fairway is full of crazy old ladies. Someday I'll be one of them.

        19 Replies
        1. re: small h

          So you use the ends that are in your hand? That's gross too.

          1. re: southernitalian

            If are that grossed out by human contact, you shouldn't be eating any shared dishes anyway, with or without dip.

            1. re: southernitalian

              I hesitate to bring this up for fear of giving you nightmares, but hands have touched your plate, your silverware, your water glass, and probably some of your food. Also note that the lime wedge in your drink did not squeeze itself.

              1. re: small h

                I know all that! I'm not squeamish by a long shot. You'd be amazed by the crap I'm willing to try. Just curious. So if I'm eating sushi with friends and we're all taking pieces off a shared platter, I'm supposed to turn the chopsticks around and use the end I'm not eating with? I've never heard that!

                1. re: southernitalian

                  I only know what I've read, and it was definitely about Chinese food, not Japanese. I think it just applies to casseroles and noodles and the like - stuff you would spoon out if you had a spoon. Although tigercrane, downthread, is contradicting this. Someone needs to break the tie.

                  1. re: small h

                    Given what I've read on CH about the Chinese having no issues with gobbing huge streams of phlegm wherever they need to, I'm thinking this is a Japanese, SE Asian issue. As it refers specifically to sushi, I'm fascinated,

                    1. re: small h

                      I'll break it, small h. While eating hot pot with my Chinese friends, I was instructed about turning the chopsticks when dipping into the communal pot. Makes sense it would apply to "stuff you'd spoon out if you had a spoon," too for the same reasoning.

                      As to sushi, I'm only touching MY piece and sharing with people I'm close to, anyway, so it ain't no thing to me. :)

                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        Yes, this sounds reasonable and correct.

                        And @southernitalian, while I've seen (elderly) Chinese people spit on the sidewalk or the subway platform, I've never seen them spit on their own or anyone else's food.

                        1. re: kattyeyes

                          I have heard of the turn the chopsticks around trick, but I've never seen it done. I'll ask my chinese friends about it. Seems like a good solution.

                      2. re: southernitalian

                        Regarding sushi, it is finger food. When one takes a piece of sushi from a common plate, it is only necessary to touch the piece taken. If it is eaten in two bytes, it is held between bytes, never returned to the plate. This is not at all comparable to double dipping.

                    2. re: southernitalian

                      Chopsticks are held in the middle, not at the end.

                    3. re: small h

                      You won't be a crazy old lady, you will just have a hilarious mind!

                      1. re: boyzoma

                        Aw, thanks! I'm trying to hold on to my mind. I eat plenty of fish and do the crossword puzzle every day. But I've also started offering cough drops or tissues to people on the bus who seem like they need them, and giving loud children the stink eye, so I may already be well on my way to crazy-old-ladyhood.

                        1. re: small h

                          nah, that's just reaching the plateau of "and WHY do I need to put up with your inconsiderate self?"

                          Cough drops and tissues have that undercurrent of "if you were a real adult, you'd be carrying these yourself" - and giving loud kids the stinkeye - -well, you get that ability as soon as you bear one of your own. The "Mom glare" is universal.

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            Interesting. I hadn't considered that giving a sneezing person a tissue could seem like a passive/aggressive way to say "grow up." Live & learn. I haven't given birth to anyone, so my glare is not a mom-glare. Just a regular-glare.

                            1. re: small h

                              Agreed, I can give a pretty good stink-eye glare to loud unruly kids in public settings, yet have not given birth to anyone either. I've even been known to defend my space verbally if they trample into it (running wildly and stepping on my tender feet etc.)
                              It's nice when people respect each others space and for me that includes not double dipping . . . there really are lots of pathogenic organisms that may be transferred in such situations, and people carrying them may not always appear to be "sick". For example when someone isn't diagnosed yet with chronic oral infections (periodontal diseases and caries), or is in the incubation window of a general infection like the flu.

                              1. re: small h

                                For some people, *breathing* is a passive-aggressive tendency.

                        2. re: small h

                          >>>>>According to the chopstick etiquette I've read, you serve yourself from a communal platter using the ends of the chopsticks that don't touch your mouth.<<<<<

                          I've had Chinese meals all over Asia since the 70's and have seen serving pieces used a lot (usually at higher end restaurants), but I've NEVER seen a diner use the opposite end of the chopsticks they're eating with to serve themselves. If they do pick directly from the 'communal' platter it's always been with the same set they're eating with. Me too!!! "When in Hong Kong.................."

                          1. re: Midlife

                            I freely admit that what I wrote is based not on first-hand experience (I don't have any), but rather on knowledge from other sources. Your first-hand experience is certainly valuable, but do consider that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. In other words, just 'cause you ain't seen it, doesn't mean it don't happen.

                        3. I was raised to NEVER double dip unless you're at home. That made the Seinfeld episode in question particularly hilarious for us. I even now make a semi-joke when I'm out with a friend for dinner "Just so you know, I'm gonna double dip, too bad for you!" Even with that, I feel too guilty to actually do it, haha. I'll usually just break whatever i'm eating in half and dip each. If it's something like an eggroll, I'll dip one end, bite, and then dip the other end.

                          1. I typically try not to do it because I know it bothers people, but I think the whole concept is kind of silly. Is it because people are grossed out about catching a cold or something? In any situation where people are grabbing food from a communal area and breathing all over each other, they're probably going to get each other's germs!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: caseyjo

                              I think highly increased awareness of immuno-suppression related to cancer, AIDS, and a host of other ailments has made people more aware of unnecessary risks in social settings. It shows courtesy to those who may be more immuno-suppressed, without requiring them to self-disclose.

                            2. Just like several of the posters above, with family, it's fine. My family can get pretty ridiculous when we eat together (think verbal show downs over the last won ton, not literally throwing food) in a way that would not be appropriate in other social settings. Out in public, I wouldn't double dip.

                              1. I'm happy to double dip with people with whom I generally exchange bodily fluids. But that's it.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Harters

                                  Like I said to my friend "So if we were gay, and this were a date I wouldn't get a kiss good night?"

                                2. I'll double dip with someone I would kiss on the lips.... my husband. Otherwise, I collect small plates to use in these situations, and put a spoon in the dip. You can double dip to your heart's content... off your own plate.

                                  and, by the way, I don't need to be chastised for a fear of germs. I know there are folks that see no problem with lots of questionable food safety practices, but what irks me the most is when they scoff at those folks that don't share their carefree attitude about food safety.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: wyogal

                                    I respect your opinion but do you really think double dipping is unsafe?

                                    1. re: virtualguthrie

                                      Yes, I do. You never know who has what, how it it can be spread... Taking a sip out of someone else's glass gave me mono.
                                      And. I find it gross.

                                    2. re: wyogal

                                      <I know there are folks that see no problem with lots of questionable food safety practices, but what irks me the most is when they scoff at those folks that don't share their carefree attitude about food safety.>

                                      Exactly. I think that it is just rude to double dip and to tell others that it's silly to "fear" it. But I do recognize that other cultures feel differently, and except it.

                                      1. re: viperlush

                                        I agree with you there, it's important to respect others wishes and it would be rude to just dismiss them.

                                    3. Interesting living abroad. Lived in Korea for about 8 months ten years ago. They shared everything. I loved the dynamic of it (and oh how I miss the food!) but, the one that was a little over the top for me: 6 or 7 Korean teachers, two tiny buckets of baskin robins ice cream, several small pink spoons. And they enjoyed every last bite.

                                      That was a little too much for me..lol

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: livetocook

                                        I never get grossed out by anything, but I had one Korean dining experience that even I couldn't handle - at one of our larger family dinners, there was a communal bowl of mul-kimchi that EVERYONE was dipping into. The clear soup quickly became all sorts of murky from other food debris. To this day, that was the only time I looked at food and was too grossed out to eat it.

                                        But I do love the communal eating...it's the best!

                                      2. what do you mean about chopsticks?

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                          If you're eating Chinese style, you stick your chopsticks directly into the communal plate. Every Chinese person I know eats this way.

                                          1. re: tigercrane

                                            Even if every Chinese person eating Chinese food in a group setting ate this way, it would not give them the right to set standards for everyone else.

                                        2. My best friend growing up had cystic fibrosis. Double dipping was never an option.

                                          But I don't really see why it's so hard (unacceptable?) to just turn the chip/veggie/cracker around and dip the other side of it. Your hands are presumably clean (though I know this is not a guarantee).

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Heatherb

                                            You'll be able to dip an eggroll twice this way, and you'll still have the middle to deal with.

                                            1. re: Heatherb

                                              Just curious...why does CF make DD not an option?

                                              1. re: joonjoon

                                                People with CF typically have weakened immune systems and problems with chronic infections because they cannot clear mucus from their sinuses, throats, or lungs.

                                            2. What do I think?
                                              I can't believe that we waste time and energy thinking and worrying about something so insignificant and harmless as double dipping. I can't imagine that anyone has ever been harmed from it and I think it's silly how germa-phobic people are in this country.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: virtualguthrie

                                                You can't imagine anyone being harmed by it, but I'm sure there are millions of people out there who followed an infected double-dipper at the table and then wondered a couple of days later where in the hell they got that cold, flu, etc. Even people without compromised immune systems have gotten sick from someone's double-dipping, I'm sure. No clinical proof of that statement, but I'm 100% confident that it's true. Besides, double-dipping is just rude. We are not so advanced that manners is something we no longer need in our lives. If cultural norms dictate differently, so be it, and roll with the punches knowing what you are doing. Even in food-sharing cultures, I would assume that having individual dishes would be accepted if a person were ill.

                                                  1. re: velochic

                                                    I think the question in this discussion is whether it IS rude. As we've seen, that's not universally accepted.

                                                    I am, however, going to stop doing it because its clear many people consider it rude. What I've actually started doing is ASKING people if they are double dippers or not.

                                                    Chopsticks, on the other hand....

                                                1. Since I'm a periodontist and treat people all day with infected mouths (quite common by the way), I'm not a fan of double dipping unless it's with my significant other. Pathogenic bacteria live in some people's mouths by the hundreds of millions . . . and yes, they are transferred by saliva.

                                                  1. "Before the Sienfeld episode, no such concept existed."

                                                    The concept and the term "double dip" is older than Jerry himself. We used it when I was a kid and I'm 51. The world did not begin and end with that show.

                                                    1. I am a total nazi when it comes to double dipping. I cannot STAND it. Therefore, I do not eat any dips at parties. I don't share drinks either, especially thicker beverages like say, a milkshake, fruit or vegetable juice. I may share water or iced tea with my husband, but that's it. It's a fear of saliva. I'm sorry if this makes me weird.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: gator28

                                                        Have you ever kissed your husband? Isnt saliva involved there?

                                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                                          Haha, yes! He's the only person I can tolerate sharing drinks with :) But I'm not into sloppy kisses, he knows this!

                                                          1. re: gator28

                                                            I'm like this too (about kissing). My boyfriend thinks I'm crazy.
                                                            And it really irritates me when people take a casual view of double dipping. Sure, I'll share with my close friends or family, but that doesn't mean I want to share germs with total strangers. You can never be too careful about germs, especially when it's totally preventable. One person's convenience (getting dip on each bite of their snack) is not worth a potential sacrifice of everyone's health.

                                                      2. In a word, ewww! In general, it's really bad news. My boss (a DNA analyst) has a friend who published a paper on the cross-contaminants found in double dipping. Scary stuff lurks within....

                                                        1. I grew up Romanian. My mom's a doctor. When we moved here and I told her about double dibbing, she laughed. Unless you're sick, I don't care.

                                                          1. Unless you are sharing with someone you would kiss on the lips, double-dipping is unsanitary, gross, disgusting, wrong, etc. It is unhygienic and an invitation to sharing disease.

                                                            Although I've traveled pretty widely in Asia, I have no knowledge about what is proper or accepted in Asian homes. Nevertheless, I can't recall ever eating in any restaurant in Asia (Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, etc.) where servings intended to be shared were not presented with separate utensils to be used for sharing...spoons, forks, chopsticks, etc. Admittedly, I am talking "nice" restaurants, not street food places which I tend to avoid except in certain locations (night markets in Thailand, "hawker" markets in Singapore, etc.).

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: josephnl

                                                              Wow, you're making a huge mistake by not eating Asian street food!!!!

                                                              1. re: tigercrane

                                                                I do, but with extreme caution...and aside from Singapore (where I'll eat pretty much anywhere), I'll only eat food which is extremely hot and cooked in front of me. Don't know where you've eaten street food, but doing so without a very trustworthy and knowledgeable guide is looking for big-time trouble in places like India, Cambodia and Vietnam.

                                                            2. I asked my wife if the "dip and turn" violates the double dipping rule. She said "don't do it"! ;-))