Is it OK to pick food off your friend’s plate?

I saw this question/poll recently on the Today Show, and thought hmm, this is interesting. See, I used to lecture my kids – constantly – against sharing food and drinks, and of course, as all controversial topics go, there’s always a story to tell.

I used to meet a group of moms for potluck breakfast after our morning exercise. Everything was fine until one day, one of the women brought a bowl of chicken curry. She scooped a portion into a smaller bowl and pushed it to the middle of the table. As if on cue, everyone started dipping and double dipping their bread into the bowl.

sharing food (image credit:

I will be honest. I shuddered at the sight of those teeth-marked bits of bread going back into that pool of germs over and over again!

To avoid the obvious, I decided to scoop some onto my own plate to dip from. As luck would have it, the bigger bowl had, by now, been relegated to the opposite end of the table which meant I obviously had to get up and walk over to said end to grab a little curry for myself. It was going to be just that simple!

Except Mrs Curry had eyes of a hawk. And a tongue like a Komodo dragon’s.

“Why don’t you just dip into this?” she lashed out sharply, pointing to the smaller bowl. “Why do you have to go over there?”

Certainly not an acceptable tone of voice to use on another adult but then again, Mrs Curry isn’t exactly your most refined type. I didn’t know her well but it’s hard not to notice that she was often loud, crude and openly confrontational and she had a hold on the rest of the moms. Instantly I became the target of 6 or 7 condescending glares.

Unlike them and many others, I have an aversion to sharing food – people expecting me to dig in with them, or diving into my plate, or asking for a bite or a sip or a sample, sometimes without even asking. The moment someone touches my food or drink, I’m done, I give up and they can have the rest of my serving.

For me, it’s about basic hygiene, that’s all. My philosophy is very simple: I don’t touch your food, you don’t touch mine. With close family, it’s okay to share but with friends, there’s no way. Just the way I was raised is all.

So that’s me. How about you?

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  • miki

    hum i’m not sure, i guess i wouldn’t like if they put already bitten bread in a sauce or something but if it was little strip of something and they took one ( with my offer to do so) i don’t think i would be against it.
    it never happened though so i really can’t say for sure. excpet that if someone started to go in my plate without asking then yes i’m furious.

    however with my family i was raised to try a littel of everything so it’s often at restaurant etc that i got a little sample to taste and vice versa and it’s really normal to me

  • Michele

    I have no problem sharing–my Mom to this day will grab from my plate in a restaurant if she deems she MIGHT like what I am having. I have no problem sharing dip bowls with friends. I guess you have never partaken of a salad bar in a restaurant? I have done that too–so far–knock on wood–I am very healthy (am 62)!!

    • Clairity

      A salad bar is different because people aren’t eating off it. They’re dishing portions into their own plates. And with family, it’s okay, just not with friends.

  • Sarah De Diego (Journeys of The Zoo)

    It’s only okay to dip into your spouse’s plate when you’re alone AND if they don’t mind. Otherwise, no. It’s a matter of etiquette and hygiene (IMO).

    I’m not a big fan of buffets because people don’t know the rules…

    Visiting from this weeks Thirsty for Comments. I hope that you’ll stop by The Zoo for a laugh, giveaway and/or follow. We just posted our BlogLovin Hop for this week (

    Looking forward to connecting further.

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo
    Finding Humour in Everyday Life
    journeysofthezoo at hotmail dot com