Sharing Food at the Dinner Table (or, Preparing to Lose A Finger)

I recently had an “ah ha!” moment. My mom and some of her family members were in town and took Sam and I to dinner on their last night for a joint early birthday celebration. We were born just a week apart in August.

We went to Trebol – which, if you’ve read earlier posts you’ll know, is a favorite of ours. We thought it’d be extra special for my family because Hawaii really doesn’t have any great Mexican food restaurants. And Trebol is truly excellent Mexican food.

We were all pretty hungry by the time we met for dinner, and eagerly awaited our entrees while sipping cocktails. When the waitress brought us our food, my mom dove in and took a bite. Off of my sister’s plate.

I kicked Sam under the table and nudged in their direction. I do this to him all the time (the eating off his plate part, not the kicking him under the table). And it drives him batty! See? I told him later that night, once we were back at home. It’s not my fault, it’s how my family is!

Part of this is true – I was raised in a family that likes to share food. When we go out to dinner, we purposely order different entrees knowing that plates get passed around so everyone can have a taste. My Mom calls this “family style” eating, and I guess I always assumed it was normal.

Sam was brought up differently. He jokes that the motto in his family was: “If you want to take a bite off of someone’s plate, be prepared to lose a finger.” Although his family seems totally civil to me, it’s left me thinking about meal-time habits.

Drinking is a whole other issue. I can still remember the first time I took a sip from Sam’s water glass. We had been dating for a few months, and apparently I was starting to feel totally comfortable around him. But the look he shot me as I took a gulp – oh man! I’ll never forget the panic in his eyes! He had no idea what to think…

Luckily, I think we’ve come to a pretty good understanding of each other’s table manners. Sam lets me eat off of his plate as long as I give him the first bite. Which I suppose is okay since it is his plate.  And I try to avoid reaching into his food too much. Wouldn’t want to loose a finger.

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