EAting etiquette: Eating before others are served - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 04-13-2006, 01:37 PM
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If you are in a group of people in a restaurant, party or banquet, and you get served first, should you eat before everyone else get served?



Should the people who don't get served encourage the ones getting served to go ahead and eat?



Would you feel bad if you were the only one in a large group who got served late and just had to sit there watching everyone else eat?



Would you feel strange if you were the only one eating in front of everyone else waiting for their food?
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#2 Old 04-13-2006, 02:06 PM
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I wonder if I put this post in the wrong forum???
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#3 Old 04-13-2006, 02:08 PM
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I wonder if I put this post in the wrong forum???

I think so

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upon a mountain

made of weak and useless men"

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#4 Old 04-13-2006, 02:12 PM
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I have been to many banquets and dinner parties as well as upscale restaurants. My mother was gracious enough to pass on proper etiquette for those occasions, which is wonderful as now I am very comfortable eating at a function. Regarding a dinner party, if you aren't sure, the host/hostess will take lead.

Quote:
If you are in a group of people in a restaurant, party or banquet, and you get served first, should you eat before everyone else get served?

No

Quote:
Should the people who don't get served encourage the ones getting served to go ahead and eat?

No

Quote:
Would you feel bad if you were the only one in a large group who got served late and just had to sit there watching everyone else eat?

No, eating something before you go and ordering light fare keeps you from being hungry. ALso, if you are at an upscale party or banquet the chances that everyone but you would be served is VERY slim, as that is a HUGE no no.

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Would you feel strange if you were the only one eating in front of everyone else waiting for their food?

I wouldn't be doing that.
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#5 Old 04-13-2006, 02:25 PM
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If it's a group of 6 people or fewer, general etiquette states that you wait until everyone has been served before you start. If the waitstaff indicates there will be a considerable delay for one person's meal, the rest of the table should start so that their food doesn't get cold (and the person with no plate should encourage this).



In a larger group or a banquet-style setting, you wait until the person on either side of you has been served before you start eating.
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#6 Old 04-13-2006, 04:21 PM
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My own practice, and that of most of my friends, is to wait if I am served first, but to encourage others to start if I haven't been. If everyone has that approach, then there is no awkwardness.



I'm not a big fan of "etiquette" (as in rules to learn); I do practice common-sense courtesy.
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#7 Old 04-13-2006, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon View Post

If you are in a group of people in a restaurant, party or banquet, and you get served first, should you eat before everyone else get served?



Etiquette says to wait until the others are served. So, unless I'm with my family, I wait.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon View Post

Should the people who don't get served encourage the ones getting served to go ahead and eat?



Sure, why not? Some people get hungrier sooner than others.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon View Post

Would you feel bad if you were the only one in a large group who got served late and just had to sit there watching everyone else eat?



Yes. but that's usually because by then I'm starving and REALLY cranky.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon View Post

Would you feel strange if you were the only one eating in front of everyone else waiting for their food?



Yes. Even if they told me it was OK to go ahead and eat. Unless, again, it was my family. They understand that I get cranky when I get hungry.

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#8 Old 04-13-2006, 04:29 PM
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Suppose you have to wait so long that your food is not longer 'hot' when the last person is finally served? Would you start to feel bad for waiting if your meal is ruined?
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#9 Old 04-13-2006, 04:36 PM
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I was listening to a discussion about this on the radio. The host said that he didn't want to wait if it meant he'd have cold food but he admitted to feeling guilty if he was the only one eating.



The host was saying that the people who had not received their food yet should encourage the people with the food to start. However that may not always be possible.



Some people don't even know the protocol and may just start digging in no matter what.



I know this is different in someone's house, the protocol is to wait for the host or hostess or until the host gives the okay to start, so the food is eaten at the proper temperature. I was referring to restaurants and situations where sometimes people don't get food at the same time.
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#10 Old 04-13-2006, 04:56 PM
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Under a large banquet situation, you don't have to wait for everyone to be served. I would wait until the people near me are eating, but I certainly wouldn't wait for the whole room.
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#11 Old 04-13-2006, 05:57 PM
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I agree, proper ettiquete is to wait until everyone is served. And that's all there is to it. As far as letting your food get cold while waiting for others to be served, if it's not worth eating lukewarm, it probably wasn't really worth having to begin with. Have another piece of bread. If those who haven't been served urge me to go ahead and eat, I might take a few nibbles to appease them, but I wouldn't truly dig in until we can all dig in. I know only too well how it feels to be the only one at the table without a meal yet and to sit there and watch others eat while your tummy is growling. I won't do that to my dining companions.
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#12 Old 04-13-2006, 05:58 PM
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For small parties (and eating at home just with family/friends) I wait. At huge bashes I either wait for the host or 'main attraction' to start or, like Alfiedog I start when those around me do.
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#13 Old 04-13-2006, 07:53 PM
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Unfortunately, when I am serving people and the meals almost all come up except for one, and people have already begun bringing out food...we have mexicans who barely speak english/pretend to barely/not speak english cooking the foods....and they just pretend they didn't see it/know it, when it's clear in black and white on his ticket/screen. Like..."No, we did it right."



it's infuriating to me. >.<



So, when that happens, most of the time, if the server's been working there for months and months, or even years, it's really not their fault, so hopefully their tip doesn't reflect that, cuz most of the time we're throwing fits in the back telling the cooks to get it together.



*sigh* so glad I've been packing this week and not dealing with that stress...LOL
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#14 Old 04-13-2006, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon View Post

Suppose you have to wait so long that your food is not longer 'hot' when the last person is finally served? Would you start to feel bad for waiting if your meal is ruined?



I'd be complaining to the restaurant. That is bad service. I'd wait until everyone is served before eating, it's just polite.

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#15 Old 04-13-2006, 11:15 PM
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If it were up to me I'd want to make use of the side plates and have everyone eat everything. But not everyone shares my enthusiasm, and if it's not a veg place that might be scarey. So I guess my answer would be "I don't know". Not really sure why I'm responding really...ah well.
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#16 Old 04-14-2006, 12:33 AM
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Thanks for the well thought out replies. I remember once being in a large group in a restaurant and for whatever reason one person did not receive his meal for a very long time. He was just sort of sitting there and the rest of us had already begun eating.



I think he probably felt annoyed and uncomfortable that his plate hadn't arrived, but maybe he would have felt worse if we were all sitting there waiting for his plate.
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#17 Old 04-14-2006, 12:34 AM
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As more and more restaurants seem to be bringing out food at different times thesedays my friends and I usually just say "2,4,6,8, dig in, don't wait!"
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#18 Old 04-14-2006, 08:18 AM
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The food is getting cold and aging, so it should be eaten once served.
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#19 Old 04-14-2006, 08:27 AM
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Everyone I eat with is pretty laid back so unless I'm with my dads family I eat when I'm served and everyone else does the same. More often than not its me who doesn't have food while everyone else does and I know I would feel bad if people were letting their own meal get cold/sitting there hungry because of me, I'm not going to starve to death in the 20 extra minutes tops it takes me to get my food.



If I'm with someone who cares I'll of couse wait, because it is the technically polite thing to do, but I've never felt upset that other people are eating around me when I am not.
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#20 Old 04-14-2006, 11:46 AM
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It's different for different cultures. Over here, it is considered rude to not wait for each other, unless maybe one meal takes expeptionally long to propere. When in Spain last summer, I noticed that it was a lot different, people start eating the moment they get their food served. And, good thing too, sometimes it takes ages before the waiters get over all the food. They would also take away empty plates if other people were stil eatingh, that would also be rude over here. So, it really depends where you are.



And, if you'r meal is ruined, that would be reason to complain, I guess.
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#21 Old 04-14-2006, 01:11 PM
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Only once a year do surround myself with jerks who think like this, and that is when I go home for Thanksgiving with the family.
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#22 Old 04-14-2006, 07:21 PM
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"Politeness is the most acceptable form of hypocrisy." - Ambrose Bierce



On the other hand, I'd probably wait for other people so as not to get in a wrangle. I find table etiquette mostly unnecessary, but there are those who live by it. It's more convenient not to get in a snafu over ticky-tack customs than to try to fight the system.
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#23 Old 04-14-2006, 09:53 PM
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Pasta, what else about table etiquette do you find unnecessary?
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#24 Old 04-15-2006, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by rainbow_clouds View Post

Pasta, what else about table etiquette do you find unnecessary?

Nothing specific. Just the ideas that those who do not follow the preordained system are somehow worse for it. I mean, nobody actually has to take offense at "bad manners," yet people do. I think it gets out of hand when people think less of their friends for things that don't have to be so important.



ETA- It isn't practicing table manners that I find issue with. Concurrently, I currently do and plan in the future to practice all the table etiquette I know. However, in principle, I don't think it's a necessary system (most parts, anyway). Not a battle worth fighting, obviously, and furthermore, eating in a rude fashion will make people angry. So I go along with it, but if nobody else did, I certainly wouldn't cling to most of the "polite" ways.
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#25 Old 04-15-2006, 08:37 AM
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I tend to agree with you pasta, I mean obviously people don't want to see people chewing with their mouths open, spitting, etc. (things that put people off their food or ruin the meal for others) but I don't think it is so incredibly important which fork you use when, or if your elbows are on the table, or if your napkin gets in your lap before or after drinks are served (or at all if though I keep mine there because I wouldn't own any unstained pants otherwise).



My father's family has over the years made me feel very embarrassed, self conscious, anxious and otherwise hurt because I was raised with my moms very laid back family and as a child didn't know some of the fancier etiquette (crap like being scolded for eating french fries with fingers when the main dish with which they were being served required the use of a fork or buttering all your bread at once)



I'm glad that I know all that stuff now but the only time I have ever used it is with them, I certainly wouldn't want to make others feel bad about the way they butter their bread and frankly I don't care if they eat everything with their fingers, it doesn't hurt me or detract from my meal, so why should I care?
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#26 Old 04-15-2006, 08:43 AM
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eating fries with utensils? thats a tad insane too...
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#27 Old 04-15-2006, 09:13 AM
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I agree with you guys when it comes to the nitpicky things like which utensil to use, etc. That stuff is just a sign that we have to much time with which to make up silly rules. But when it comes to doing things that are disgusting (chewing with your mouth open, talking with your mouth full) or that make other people feel bad (chowing down on your food before other people have theirs) I do think etiquette remains important. I think the no-eating-until-everyone-is-served rule grew out of a time when most meals were eaten in the home, and Mom or Grandma was doing the serving, and the point is to keep the meal from just being a feeding frenzy. When in a restaurant and one person's meal is just not ready yet for some reason while other meals are sitting on the table getting cold, I'm sure we ought to be able to find a happy medium.
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#28 Old 04-15-2006, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inie View Post

It's different for different cultures. Over here, it is considered rude to not wait for each other, unless maybe one meal takes expeptionally long to propere. When in Spain last summer, I noticed that it was a lot different, people start eating the moment they get their food served. And, good thing too, sometimes it takes ages before the waiters get over all the food. They would also take away empty plates if other people were stil eatingh, that would also be rude over here. So, it really depends where you are.



And, if you'r meal is ruined, that would be reason to complain, I guess.



what about tapas though? spain has tapas, which would mean a lot of side plates would be used (reference to another post previously mentioned)



Tapas are awesome !!! I don't mind sharing my food like that, so long as everything at the table is communable (if that's a word! haa!)
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#29 Old 04-15-2006, 10:56 AM
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Good points, all. Spitting, sneezing on someone else's food, chewing with your mouth open, or otherwise making eating uncomfrotable for another is unfair. Things that don't affect others, like proper use of a napkin, not having your elbows on the table, sitting up straight, etc. are those which I would be reluctant to enforce.
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#30 Old 04-15-2006, 12:33 PM
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I eat when I am hungry and encourage everyone else to do the same. I don't care for martyrs and don't wish to become one myself (Why suffer or expect others to share in the suffering?).

"Yes! Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Auntie Mame
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