A question about sharing. Need "non-Aspie" perspective

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by trinityroyal, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    ML's thread in General about Manster and the nachos got me thinking...


    Why do people feel the need to share food?

    I'm not talking about a communal plate, or a dinner table where everyone is expected to share the dishes that have been served. What I'm referring to is that thing that happens in restaurants:

    I review the menu and pick something that I'd like to eat. The friends with whom I'm eating each do the same. When all the plates are brought out, everyone starts saying: "Would you like to try some of my dinner?" "Ooh, may I try some of that?" And when it's time for dessert, even if only one person orders the waiter brings one fork for every person at the table.

    The way I see it, if I wanted chicken I would have ordered chicken. Since I ordered shrimp (or whatever) that's what I intend to eat, and I don't feel the need to try my friend's chicken just because it's not shrimp. I know what chicken tastes like, so it's not a new experience.

    As for dessert, I figure that if people want it they are free to order it. I imagine that the person who ordered a slice of cake wants to eat a slice of cake, rather than 1 or 2 bites of a slice of cake.

    I have been confused by this for years. Why do people do that? Is there some socialization thing that I'm missing?

  2. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Trinity, I hear ya!!! I get annoyed when it isn't a pre-planned sharing dish, when people want to dip into my plate. Usually if asked I just joke that "I have issues sharing off a plate, just how I am! But I can say this is excellent (or horrid if that's the case) and i highly recommend (or don't recommend) it in the future if you are looking to try it".

    Having said that, the kids and I, and certainly S/O and I, often do this sharing thing without planning it ahead of time. I guess for me it is not an issue with the kids or my S/O to have them try something I'm having. However I think that comes from us being a family unit who sit down to dinner together every night so are relaxed that way with each other and our food. However I don't like
    it much if we aren't having a shared dish, to have someone else want to share. I have often shared a mutual dessert when dining out. When we plan to share a dessert it is usually because those of us sharing want a little treat but not an entire piece of cake, pie, etc. In that case, I always ask the server for x amount of plates (enough for all sharing) and I ask them to bring it already divided into x amount of pieces. Then I simply have us all take our "piece" onto our own plate and it doesn't bother me at all.

    I do think for most who enjoy sharing or like to have a sample of someone's meal, it's more a social thing and a curiousity about another dish that looks delicious and they want to know if they would enjoy in order to perhaps order it next visit to that place. I don't think most people think twice about it since dining out in our society has become such a social atmosphere. I don't think there is a thing wrong however with telling those with you that you really prefer to not share (yours or theirs), that it is just your way and I would think people should respect that without a problem.
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Honestly... I grew up where we DO share like this. It started because my parents would give me a small bite to "try" something new. Now it's just ingrained - "do you want to try some?"

    husband and I usually cannot decide what we want, so we'll figure out two things, then share.

    Does this help? I certainly would not do this outside my FAMILY!
  4. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Thanks Step and Mattsmom. It does help me to understand a bit.

    I will often share my food with Little easy child and the Tot Monster twins, but I cut or break off little bits and put it on their plate or in their bowl. husband and I will sometimes order something in a restaurant that we intend to share, but it's planned ahead, we usually have side plates and can split things up neatly.

    I guess the part that confuses me is when people start deciding they want to share only after the food has been brought out to the table. I looked over the whole menu and decided on the thing I wanted to eat. I assumed that everyone else was doing the same thing. But then when my friend sees my plate, she says "Oh, that looks good. Do you mind if I try a little bit?" I wonder, if she also wanted to eat the same thing why didn't she just order it? A related, and equally confusing thing is, when a group of friends are eating out, and someone says, "Well, I can't order that, because someone else in the group has already ordered it." Unless we're eating Chinese or Thai food or something like that, where everyone shares all the dishes and you don't want duplicates, this just seems strange. If you want spaghetti and I want spaghetti, why can't we both order spaghetti.

    I've done fairly well figuring out many of the social rules, but restaurant behaviour still escapes me.
  5. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    My ex and I used to share but it wouldn't occur to me to ask anyone else if I could share their food if we ordered different dinner selections. I'm with you, Trinity- if they wanted my food it should be pre-arranged to share; otherwise there's no reason why we both can't order the same thing.

    I wonder if part of it is what was modeled when we grow up? My parents/brother didn't eat off each other's plate. On the other hand, my ex came from a huge family and I think most of their dinners were "pooled" and everyone dove in.

  6. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I'm a germaphobe and I'm with you!
  7. ML

    ML Guest

    That's a really good point, Trin. I don't know why we do that. I know that for the desserts, it's a fact that when you divide the calories equally, they don't count lol. Seriously, it is a rather odd social thing we do.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I wish I could explain it. When I worked in a restaurant there were always some families that did this. We had one bizarre lady we had to bar because she would walk up to strangers and just reach out her fork or hand and take some of their food - without asking or even knowing the people!!!!!

    It drives me nuts when it is done with-o asking ahead of time. I often share a dish with one of the kids, or we get two entrees and share instead of splitting one. No way would someone get a bite of my dessert. They would have a fork stuck through their hand if they tried. (My father actually did this when he was in college. Some kid came up and tried to take a bite of his pie and my father put a fork through his hand. It was eons ago before people pressed charges much, so no one got my dad into trouble. His dorm was pretty wild though.)

    The kids and I share with clean forks, usually before we start eating, mostly because germs. I did got through YEARS when Jess would ONLY eat what was on my plate if we went out. She would pick a kid's meal and then refuse to eat it, and want some of my food. I usually have food to take home, so I got a full meal, but it was annoying. Esp when thank you did the same dang thing when he was old enough for solid food - which was after Jess had stopped that annoying habit!!
  9. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Trinity, I honestly don't think this is an Aspie vs. non- thing. I think it's just a matter of the environment you grew up in. My husband is ALWAYS offering some of whatever he is eating to me when we go out. It's just how he grew up and it's his way of trying to be nice, to share... I, on the other hand, did not come from such an open and sharing home. So it IS foreign to me. And I tend to look at my dining experience similar to the way you do. Especially when I'm out with people who aren't close family. I would not dream of asking for a taste off someone else's plate unless it is someone in my immediate family and they have ordered something that I'd like to try.
  10. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    This does make me feel better. The whole business just struck me as so odd. I guess I'm not the only one who finds it so.
  11. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    For me it would depend on how well you know someone and if it's discussed before the food is ordered. Strikes me as ranging from typical family/close friends stuff to off the scale rude depending on the situation.
  12. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I would never ask someone for something off of their plate (much less take it without asking!) but I've done it the other way around. My son and I have "shared" at a restaurant but it was more like me offering him one of my shrimp that he got off my plate with his own fork, sharing an appetizer, or letting him finish something of mine if I can't eat it all. But having a big free-for-all where everybody is eating off of everybody elses plates, even at home, uuuuhhh, no thank you. That's gross. And very unsanitary.
  13. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Now for me...sharing a bite of my dish is just a way of sharing the experience with the others at my table. If I get a chicken dish, for example, and it's fantstic, I want to share that experience with them. I understand that it's not what they ordered....I understand that they've most likely eaten chicken before - but I just want to share some of what I am enjoying with them. It just makes the meal that much more fun to ooooh and aaaah over each other's plate.
  14. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    When I was single, my friends and I used to do this the first we'd go to a restaurant as a way to sample more types of food. Eventually, we'd pretty much all decided what we liked and then we'd just order that. Many times, the dish one of us preferred was what another one of us had ordered.

    Now that I'm supposedly an adult, we still do somewhat of the same thing except nobody eats from each other's plates (except our spouse's) anymore. We do share but it's more of taking a clean utensil and putting some of your uneaten food on to their plate and taking some from theirs.

    The woman who walked around just grabbing food from strangers' plates most likely had some sort of mental illness.
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This drives me batty!

    Now I think it is perfectly normal for parents, or grandparents, to have an extra plate and put some of their food over onto the small child's plate so they can eat at the table. Maybe even normal for a husband and wife to ask each other...honey, that dish looks yummy, is it as good as it looks? Can I have a taste? They have certainly passed germs before...lol.

    What kills me is that my daughter in law never fails to sit down and start eating and she will pick up bites of food with her FINGERS and start trying to shove them in our mouths as if we are babies, telling us how good this tastes and we simply must try it! Bad enough she does that to her kids but when she does it to me and Tony I want to puke. Then she starts going up to the bar and bringing back plates with food she thinks we will like because she did...never asking if we want it. UGH!!!!