Last year I had this cool gig where I shot photos for a cruise line. The A/V crew was awesome, we all got along great.
Until one lunch break when we were all sitting at a large table in the Windbreaker, consuming calories as fuel to go about the rest of the day.
A friend of mine, whom I had known for years, nonchalantly moved his fork to my plate to steal some gravy-slathered beef.
I’m horrible at hiding emotions. If I’m grossed out, offended, appalled, I don’t make a sound, but my facial expression makes up for the silence.
But come on, he sent his utensil to retrieve from my plate of food — and without even asking.
As if this weren’t bad enough for me, I immediately got judgment from the rest of the table. Some laughed at my apparent overreaction, others were just confused by how I could be so irritated.
I don’t share food.
I’m not the only one, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of people who understand. One of my best friends is the same way; though he says he will share with me because of my job. Even then, it’s just one respectable, perfectly reasonable bite. Sharing one bite is minimally invasive for us, and it should be enough of the experience for the other who's taking the food.
I’m not talking about the family-style setting: While it’s not my favorite, if a restaurant just operates that way, I’ll share the bowl of mashed potatoes. But once it’s on my plate, it’s on my plate, you know?
I recently went with a friend to Mot Hai Ba — one of my favorite places, but it's not a cheap joint. Sharing there makes sense. But again, the sharing is one action at the top where it goes to your plate, then the only other destination is your own mouth.
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Another recent time, I went out with some lovely people to a good restaurant — one we all know that serves rather tiny plates. I like small plates, they're fun. But if you have two sausages, two dumplings, etc., and you're sharing that teeny-tiny serving among five people, that's just a lousy experience. And surely, a chef doesn't want you to experience his or her food with you frustratingly thinking, “This is really freaking hard to split” before you consume it.
There's nothing wrong with us just getting our own food.
Especially if you’re paying your own way and eating a regular (not family style) meal, why should someone have the audacity to fork over some of your food? I’m up for sharing a bite, but if you really want to experience or indulge in it, get it yourself.
It’s just something I will not, cannot do. And that should be OK. I’ll get some hate for this, and I don’t deny I sound a bit like a jerk here for my words, but for those of us who don’t share food, don’t judge us. Don’t @ us. Don’t tell us we’re bad people. Just don’t take food from our place setting, would ya?