Whenever I go out to eat – and I do it often enough – I have a little routine. I want to know what you’re ordering.
Ok, so maybe that’s not so unusual. After all, it’s a fairly common question as everyone starts to put down their menus, “So what are you going to have?” Then there’s the exclaiming over how good something sounds and hmmm maybe I should think about that or the ooooo I was debating that, too. You’ve had those conversations before, right?
If you’re eating with me, I’m filing away that information. If I was planning to order the sesame crusted ahi but you announce that’s your entree, I’ll be moving to my second choice. You’re having the lobster bisque? Oh well. I’ll find something else. Very rarely do I order the same thing as anyone else at the table. I like to have a variety of foods come from the kitchen, especially in restaurants that tailor their plates to the food served upon them.
That doesn’t mean I’ll order something I don’t like or want, of course. You won’t catch me ordering mushrooms in a state of panic because that’s all that remains on the menu. That would just be silly. Instead, it’s partly because there is generally so much food that appeals to me that I want to experience as much of it as possible, even if it’s only visually. So yes, I often order last at the table because I’m still trying to decide. If you order something I’m considering that only helps me.
Of course, if you’re my husband, it’s different. I grew up in a household where the concept of “your plate” was a little iffy. My mom is a notorious picker. She’ll taste what’s on your plate just as soon as she’ll eat her own dinner. Of course, she’s more than willing to offer up a bite of her own dinner in trade because fair’s fair, right?
Not surprisingly, I have continued this tradition. This, of course, isn’t something you initiate with someone on a first date, but many a boyfriend learned to share dinner with me because I wanted just a little taste. My children know to offer me food – just like they know I’ll happily share with them. And my husband goes one better.
The vast majority of the time we go out to eat, my husband asks me what his options are. He knows that I appreciate him sharing his food (ahem, and vice versa), and he’s easy. He likes and eats pretty much anything. He’s happy with anything I like, and he knows I would never dictate a specific dish – especially one he doesn’t like.
And yes, sometimes he orders a food that I absolutely wouldn’t eat, something with blue cheese. Or with mushrooms. Or another food that just doesn’t appeal to me at all, and that’s totally fine because he has a hankering for it. I just won’t be tasting his dish that time.
So if you happen to be sitting down at a restaurant with me, I may ask to order last. And I may want to know what you’re going to be eating so I don’t order the same thing. But don’t worry, I promise not to pick off your plate. But if you want to share….
This post was written and inspired by the book “The Dinner” by Herman Koch as part of the From Left to Write book club. We don’t do traditional reviews, but I have reviewed “The Dinner” on 5 Minutes for Books if you want to see my opinion of it.