The Joy of Sharing

Friends has always been my fave sit com and there was this one episode where Joey was being sensitive about his food. He was on a date with a beautiful girl and they had a dinner on a fine dining restaurant. Then, when the waitress asked for their order, the girl ordered only a salad and a mineral water, Joey on the other hand, wanted a full plate of french fries for his side dish. During dinner, the date wanted to try his french fries and Joey unwillingly let her. But then, she asked for more..and more, and this was way too much for Joey to take, he screamed at her, “Joey. Doesn’t. Share. Food!!”

ImageI loved that one episode, funny how his love towards women came off second after his love for food. I thought Joey -being a character in a sitcom- was a bit overrated toward food, but lately I changed my mind. It seems very rude not to share food, not only rude, it seems a very sinister thing to do, very selfish. When somebody asked for a bite, you just have to say yes. In fact, Joey, the fictional character, was the only person who openly defended his food and stated that he just didn’t share.

But let’s see this from another point of view, if refusing to share food is selfish and rude, what about asking for others’ food? Is it polite to gobble anything in your friend’s dining table without asking if it’s okay to? Is it okay to always wanting to taste your friend’s food when you eat out together? Is it okay to ask for a sip of drink from your friend’s coke bottle?

Recently, I encountered a situation where manner in ‘food sharing’ baffled me. My friend complained about my other friend, who – according to him- wasn’t that close to him. This one friend, on a dinner, briefly picked my friend’s fried calamari from his plate while said, ‘can I try this one?’. That episode disturbed him so much, he resents that girl until this day. I said, what’s the problem with that? He said, well- I don’t know her, you don’t just pick someone’s fried calamari, especially if that was the first dinner we ate together! he said hotly.

I thought about Joey and thought it wasn’t the same. Joey just doesn’t share food, close friends or not. But in my friend’s case, he doesn’t like sharing food with stranger (well, not exactly a stranger, friends not in his circle, perhaps).

So, months gone by and I almost forgot about the calamari incident when similar thing happened to me a few days ago. A friend of mine, gobbled my take away dinner and didn’t share with the rest of the group. I didn’t say anything to anybody but it kept bothering me until the next day. It bothered me that I was bothered by that matter. I told myself again and again, it was only some chickens, I could get it whenever I wanted it and shouldn’t made a big deal out of it. But it still did.

So I googled the web, wondering was I the only one who felt that way toward food-sharing etiquette, turned out, I wasn’t. Here what I found from the witty and smart Rachel Wilkinson’s blog :

Rule #26: I know my food looks delicious, but at least let me taste it before you start eyeballing it. How about I eat a few bites, offer some commentary on how it tastes, and then you pretend that you’re just now noticing it for the first time? We both know this is a lie, but it’s the polite thing to do. This at least gives me a chance to offer you a bite. Which I may or may not.

Rule #27: If you want to try a bite of my food and I haven’t offered it yet, you have to ask first. First. You have to ask first. You know, like before you help yourself.

Rule #29: Don’t abuse your food sharing privileges. If I say you can have a bite of my burger, don’t take advantage of my generosity. When it comes to the food I share, “a bite” does not mean “everything you can cram into your mouth at once, leaving me with nothing but a scrap of bun and a tiny corner of cheese.”

There was just some rudeness, selfishness and greediness in her that taken me aback. ( Or was it me that too stingy, not wanted to share my food?). But this chicken incident actually funny because, my boyfriend who was with me that day, felt the same way too. We were driving down to town when I mentioned it (because I just couldn’t keep it for myself longer!), we were like two kids found a pink shell in the beach. We had a good laugh and shared the bewilderment of finding a same thing that most people might not realized and when we passed the chicken restaurant, my boyfriend  bought us two big boxes of it! We ate it in the car, hand smeared with sauce and licked our fingers with such satisfaction, it made us laugh even more. (Note to readers who thought that we laughed at her, you’re wrong. We laughed at the situation)

It’s really nice to share something. Our sentiment towards sharing food, for once. Or maybe the food itself.

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