Sharing Food in Public

Dear Optimists,

I’m all for sharing. Why not, right? Well I was out for sushi with friends and ordered a bowl of edamame for me and one friend to share. She arrives, I tell her they’re for us, and we both go to town on them. I love those things! And so does she! Yum.

So I decide to take a break and I see there are only two pods of edamame left, and I assume I get one and she gets the other. Literally a minute later they’re both gone! So I wait for a lull in the conversation, and then I asked everyone, “Does anyone watch Curb Your Enthusiasm?” They all nod and I say “Well I hate to get all Larry David on you, but isn’t there a general unspoken rule when sharing that when there are two of whatever you’re eating left, each sharer gets one?” My friend, who is a kind and adorable person, just starts giggling because she knows what this is about. Then she responds.

Her: “You’d stopped eating! I thought you were done!”
Me: “I still think it’s a rule. Or it’s at least etiquette!”
Her: “Well you should have eaten faster then I guess!”
So I punched her in the face.
No, not really.

Of course, this was all in good fun, and in fact I’d had enough edamame. But still.



P.S. If you want to read other work by Den, click here for his other blog.

Author: den

More often than not, people wonder what I'm up to. I'm a people watcher, and love to tell a stranger's story, as I see it. If you see me reading or writing in a coffee shop, there's a good chance I'm making up a story about you at that moment. I'm a visual person who loves finding inspiration in my surroundings, and believe that sometimes the smallest detail can tell the majority of the story, if you have the sense to recognize it.

238 thoughts on “Sharing Food in Public”

      1. Sometimes my husband and I will argue about who it getting the last bite, so we split it. Of course it would have been courtious to ask you if you wanted the other, but as a good friend she most likely knows your “full” face and went on the body queues πŸ™‚ Fun post!!! AmberLena

  1. Hahaha!! I totally agree!! Also, I’m a huge Curb Your Enthusiasm fan too, so I get the rules, you know? πŸ˜‰

    Great post and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  2. Well, it woulda been a deserved punch, after all…


    I recently asked my boyfriend if he wanted to try a “bite” of my pita. Apparently “bite” to him meant “devour the last quarter.” I felt like karate chopping him in the neck!

    But alas, I do love him.

    Thanks for sharing this — fun post!

    1. Haha yes, people have different ideas on bite size, don’t they? When I was a kid my dad would take a “bite” and i would get sad. Hahaha.

    2. DISTINCT difference between a bite and eating the rest of my sandwich!!

      My absolute least favorite is when you share something you LOVE LOVE LOVE… favorite ice cream, a special dish you can only afford once in a while… and then they eat a ton of it, only to criticize it. IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE IT, WHY DID YOU EAT SO MUCH OF IT???

      Yes, it upsets me this much. Especially ice cream.

    3. my boyfriend tends to think offering a bite toward the end of a meal means I’m done. I hate realizing he’s finished that last 1/3 of my dinner! I’ve learned to hold my sandwich for him, or watch closely so he knows I’m still quite interested. πŸ˜‰

  3. Yeah . . . can’t say I’ve been on your end or her end of this kind of a situation, so I can’t be all like “TOTALLY!!!” But yes–the social assumption is that it’s split evenly at the end unless otherwise stated. I make it a rule that I don’t take the last “thing” until I clear it with everyone else at the table, unless I’ve seriously had like three pieces and everyone else had ten.

  4. I have noticed the same people who will eat the last bite of something from your plate (or bowl) are the same people who put the milk carton or OJ container back into the fridge with only 1 sip left in it. Apparently, they did not get the memo. Perhaps you could publish a guide?

    Congrats on being FPd

  5. It just hurts a little, doesn’t it? The arrogance, the inconsideration…I feel it for you, bro. And your blog is shaping up to be my newest sister wife. I’m a polygimist blog subscriber. Don’t judge me, traditionalists!

    1. Awww nah, not among friends. It was just more of one of those little funny moments in life where you have to laugh, you know? πŸ™‚

  6. Or, how about when you see food samples at a store and your significant other tries the item only to determine she doesn’t like it. So, she beckons you over and pretends to give you a kiss, only to spit the offending food sample into your own mouth!!

    When I saw the title of the article and picture, I thought it was going to be about gross behavior! πŸ˜‰

    For me, the whole sharing of food is a psychological thing, not really an etiquette issue. Sharing food with my wife is one thing. Sharing food with my children is okay too – though the ick factor increases. Sharing food with friends depends upon the item and the utensils used… and the ick factor increases even more.

    I have eaten communal meals before with complete strangers where everyone used their own spoon or hands, and the ick factor was exponential for me. I had to do a lot of mental compartmentalization to get through that meal, even though it tasted good.

  7. Ha. I’m a slow eater, so if we’re sharing something evenly there’s a good chance that the two left are supposed to be mine anyway… But otherwise, yes, general rule!

  8. wow… dont you just love it when you tell your friend they can have a small bite and instead when they are not looking the take two? awsome post and congrats to being FP. please visit my site and leave comments.

  9. Haha – awesome post and very true!! I would have been really offended and demanded she order a whole other edamame for me … alone to eat.

    1. Haha yes! I should have! But I wasn’t even hungry for them anymore…to be honest. I couldn’t wait for my sweet potato tempura rolls!

  10. My husband and I are so compulsively polite that we end up arguing over who gets the last whatever. “You can have it” “No, that’s ok, you can.” “Oh, I don’t really want it.” “Well, I’m full.” and on and on, until one of the kids says “FINE! I’LL EAT IT!”

  11. Ha-ha, I like your post! I also have a friend that does the same thing to me! I believe it’s a rule too, but sometimes friends just don’t get that.

  12. You should have punched her in the face! She may be your friend, but sharing is caring! and she did not care to share! xD

  13. Is your friend an only child? My only-child friends are the ones who usually do stuff like that. Growing up with two sisters has made me almost obsessed with “fairness” and “rules.”

    1. Yay! that’s our main goal…to make people smile and laugh about the everyday happy little things that take place in life. Thanks for reading!

  14. I am 100% on your side. She should have asked you first if you wanted the last one– that’s what I would’ve done! Thanks for making me smile today!

  15. Love Larry David from Curb your Enthusiasm, and I recently had this situation with my fiancee. We both had two left and I had one and then I made the motion for him to split the second one. He asks me, “Didn’t you have enough?” “Well, I wasn’t really counting…” He then tells me he knows me and the only reason I didn’t count because it wouldn’t work for me if I admitted how many I had.
    Uhh…. he was right. Good thing he can be a good sharer, much better than me! πŸ˜‰

  16. I’m new here and got to this blog through freshly pressed, so congrats on that! I’M HERE!!!
    Anyway, I have the same problem with my friend. She just can’t get her head round sharing! And when she asks for a “teensy bite, oh pretty pleeeeeease?” she gobbles up HALF of my food in a second. Sometimes she doesn’t give it back, just keeps on eating it. I have once slapped her for it,

    She tends not to dare try it now. πŸ™‚

  17. See I was always taught unless the person gives up some of theirs, when you split a dish, it is half and half. If we have five mozzy sticks as an appetizer we each get 2, and then either divide it in half or haggle over who gets #5. If I only eat one, and you scarf down 3 leaving one, because there was two left. That to me violates ettiquette πŸ˜‰

  18. Dan I think your post was spot on with the trouble of sharing food in public. A life of crime starts with the other person eating the last two pods of edamame. Then they borrow your sunday NY Times and never return it (petty theft.) Then while out driving around they decide to rob a mime street performer at gun point just because they know the mime won’t say anything (Armed Robbery) then pretty soon they borrow your car without asking permission (Grand Theft Auto)

    A life of crime starts small, but you have to speak up like you did. Thanks to you it is a safer world.

    Have a great day!

    Mr. Bricks

  19. I’m a slow eater so it seriously stresses me out to share πŸ˜‰ But I still do it and I am always disappointed when the other one eats all the best stuff first … Love your reference to get the point across!

  20. Oh, I lead such a sheltered life. It never occurred to me that someone would not follow food sharing etiquette, in public, no less! I guess I now must declare myself quite privileged that my hubby evenly distributes what we share, going as far as dividing the one bread stick left into two pieces. Guess I should keep him, huh? A half a bread stick is better than a punch in the mouth any day. Really entertaining post!

  21. My husband is well known for violating this rule. I agree that you should at least ask before you finish it off!

  22. My boyfriend and I always will go to Applebee’s for their 2/$20 deal and share the appetizer. I’m usually the one who will want to save room for dinner because I don’t eat that much.

    “Do you want me to save you those?”

    “No, it’s okay. I’ll wait for my food.”

    “Are you sure?”


    “You’re going to make me eat ALL of it??”

    Good times. This was excellent, short, sweet, and funny. Congrats on Freshly Pressed!

  23. I hate it when people tell me “well you should’ve eaten faster” when I lose out on the last share of a shared food item because that’s just a poor excuse for being greedy! I, too, feel like punching people who tell me that.

      1. Seriously! Though many people have told me I eat abnormally slow. I always end up having to hoard my share of all the food (if we’re eating family-style) and then *I* end up looking greedy. It’s sad.

  24. I always have the opposite problem – we usually end up with an uneven number, and then nobody wants to take the last cookie or whatever – “you take it!” – “no, you take it!” I always call it the “courtesy cookie (or grape, tomato, whatever)

  25. Haha. Yes, I’d have to say it is an unspoken rule that you would each get one…but isn’t it also unspoken not to call your friend out in front of everyone? Just sayin… πŸ˜‰

    1. Haha probably true, but it was amongst friends! We all just shared a good laugh over it. And yes, I did share it here, but I never said her name! πŸ™‚ I did text her to let her know it was happening though hahaha.

  26. If someone took my piece of sushi I would have totally punched them in the face.Twice.
    Sharing food should be banned.Forever. No right to appeal or complain.

    If you detect a bit of resentment to food sharing…well, I do share my house with an egocentric husband and a permanently starving teenager.

  27. Your blog is delightful and the cartoon drawings are perfect — it sets your blog apart and was one of the reasons I stopped to read it. I have been married 32 years to my husband and I still do what your friend did, but I don’t mean it. I get caught up in the conversation and before you know it, I’ve eaten the last “edamame.” I think your blog will cause me to think twice next time. . .I hope :>).

  28. I don’t know. If you live in the south, no one gets the last bite! There’s always one lonely piece of food left on any serving platter until “that guy” helps himself. πŸ˜›

  29. Good post. I’m all for that sharing rule. When my brothers and I were children and were sharing a plate of cut up apples or chocolate chip cookies, my youngest brother used to take bites out of multiple snacks on the plate and put them back. He’d mark them because he knew me and my other brother wouldn’t eat a bitten piece of fruit or cookie! So he would always get the most of the food!

  30. I live in Bangkok and we regularly share food with not just one other person but with an entire group, all eating from the same serving plates (often there are no serving spoons so we all use our own!). The only part you don’t share is the rice, so I had never heard of that rule before. Well done on the FP!

  31. I dont really think its rude… maybe if it was chicken fingers or mozzarella sticks, then I would say that the last two should be shared because you only get 4 or 5 total… Edamame comes in a bowl and there are like 50 of them…

    However, I think its rude to eat the majority of a shared appetizer or meal.

  32. Father never seemed to understand my love
    for creme brule. I hardly ever get to eat it. So
    when we went on vacation. Mother was kind
    enough to take us to a restraunt that had it.
    Me and mom each ordered some of that off
    white wonderfullness and dad claimed to be
    watching his waist. I let him sample some of
    mine. He then proceeded to consume the
    greater part of not only my portion but my
    mothers as well. I don’t want his apology. I
    want him to admit that creme brule is every
    bit as good as I say it is!

  33. In my household, we always say that whoever finishes the last piece will be rewarded more (of an invisible [family] bills). Usually, the last piece of anything would be the hardest as everyone will wait for someone else to finish it off. Out of respect. However, in the end, it is always the mom (Read:me) who gets the invisible bill. And the not so invisible pounds. Ahem.

  34. This made me laugh a lot. πŸ˜› Sharing food in public is a no no for some people I know. The worst part is that when you’re going to pass something to them, they go all like “IT’s MINEZ BIZATCH!” And I go like, “I was just passing you the food?” Some weird people I tell you.

  35. it amazes me how many times in my life I swear I can hear the opening credit music to CYE…and yes, breaking the appetizer rule of order is a big bowl of wrong, but you have to consider the consequences of calling it out. What are your intentions? Will they be realized if you say something about the edamame slight? Sometimes just being silently right will just have to suffice. You can look them in the eye with a knowing gaze though. “Yeah, I saw what you did…but I’m going to let you off the hook…this time”

  36. This reminds me of the story of two friends having dinner when the host realizes that there is but one piece left, and asks the other to have the last piece.

    “No no, you should eat it” the other friend cried, looking at the serving platter. So without any further argument, the host ate the last piece. The other friend looked somewhat offended, and said, ‘How could you? I am your guest and friend, and you should have deferred to me once more, and not permit me to talk you into having the last piece!”

    The host thought a moment and replied, “Well, what if you had been the one to notice that there was only one piece left, what would you do?” “I would never eat the last piece, but always insist that you have the final taste of an excellent meal,” was the unequivocal reply.

    “Well, that’s perfect,” said the host with a smile. “We did it exactly your way.”

    Anyhow, thank you for sharing this and congratulations on being freshly pressed!

  37. well, this rule is better than the unspoken one where everybody thought, “oh-oh, i better not have that last one!”

    is it any wonder why there will always be a piece of uneaten food left on the plate?

  38. It’s different when the characters are you and your siblings.

    When you’re sisters, you’re allowed to eat whatever you want. And if you get angry because the other sister ate everything, you’re allowed to get angry.

    But with friends.. Ah, i have this quasi-friend who often asks me if I don’t like what I’m eating anymore and could he get it? Sometimes he doesn’t even ask that and he’ll just automatically get it. Grr. =P some.manners.please!

  39. you’d think everyone would know this rule by now but sadly so many people don’t! I dated a guy, we were out for dinner at a dinner theatre so the timing of getting the food was out of our control, we were both crazy hungry so when they brought out 4 dinner rolls we each started eating one asap. well, I thought I would save my second bun for when dinner actually showed up, he decided when my back was turned (literally, I had turned to look at something) to eat not only his second bun but mine too! when I confronted him about it his response was he’s a guy and needs more food! grr!
    a continuation of this rule should be: “if you ask for one of my fries/onion rings/finger food side dish and I say sure you should at most eat 2, do not keep mooching food off my plate!!” a friend of mine asked for one onion ring, I said ok, she ended up eating more of them then I did.

    1. I totally agree on your new rule! And when it comes to dating, you have to be VERY careful about eating the other person’s food. I hope this wasn’t a first date, I would never have gone out with him again!

    1. You made ME laugh! I love that…”She knows what she did…” hahaha she actually does! She admitted it after she read this story.

  40. As much as I would love to claim etiquette, I may have to blushingly admit that in this situation I would most likely be your friend; or would be having a epic inner battle over whether to eat it or not as the waiter pulls it away and I secondly regret not being selfish…. πŸ˜›

    1. Love it! In all honesty, amongst friends this is totally okay in my book, but I’m kind of the class clown of the group and had to make a joke about it.

  41. This is pure TRUTH. Food sharing does have an etiquette. It’s funny how it’s pretty much common sense that you divide it up as equally as possible when sharing, unless the other person says they give up it’s all yours… which rarely happens.

  42. Yep, and sometimes people need to be reminded of what’s proper etiquette. If nobody ever bothers to (kindly) check our actions, then we can get out of control. Good for you @dear optimists–speak yo mind!

  43. Like all the comments above say, pretty funny. I eat from my husband’s plate regularly(He never finishes the food on his plate) and don’t care much about etiquette. πŸ˜‰

  44. Awesome post. Totally an unspoken rule, whoever doesn’t follow gets kicked in the teeth, except not really that would be an awfully mean thing to do.
    My boyfriend and I have jumped on the share train quite a while ago, at first it was terrible. He would eat all of one type of sushi, then move on to the next, leaving me with three of the same kind. Or even worse, I’d leave for the restroom and the meal would be completely gone! Now we set up a little game plan, and share quite well. But now we’ve moved on to worse manners, likethose times when I have to tell my boyfriend he has pesto sauce all up in his beard during a fancy dinner.

    1. As a fellow beard-guy, I can understand and appreciate the problem of food in the beard. But as his date, you are the official beard-watcher, and it’s your job to make sure you tell him when there’s something in it! My girlfriend always does so with a giggle, which is, of course, acceptable.

    1. That’s why you have to be diligent and pay attention! When there are two left, you say “So…we each get one?” πŸ™‚

  45. great story! i personally find it best to follow the “joey Tribiane” (Friends) rule: “Joey doesn’t share food” – and neither do I…!

  46. I love how territorial food is. (Defintely not hating, just humored.) I get the same way with ice cream… well all food in general! Ha. This was a good giggle πŸ™‚

  47. The thing I hate most about shearing is when you’re really looking forward to something. Something that you might have spend a lot of time preparing, just for one person. And then just when you’re about to consume this miracle of a meal someone appears from no where, and you’re not rude or anything, if they were there you would have prepared the meal for the both of you. But you’re not a heartless bastard so you know you’re gonna have to offer some, even though it brakes your heart. The only thing worse than this when there is more than one person appearing.

  48. Wow this is inspiring!Your post just made me hungry. I really enjoyed your post .Love the photographs and your story!Thank you for sharing that.

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