Ettiquette Of Sharing Food At The Table
In an short piece about table manners by Helena Echlin on Chow.com , Ms. Echlin equates stabbing one’s fork for a morsel of food from another’s plate to animals fighting over scraps. Apparently Ms. Echlin is not a true connoisseur of fine dining among common folk. There actually are precise rules of ettiquette in a situation where something looks interesting on your table-mate’s plate without any connotation of animals fighting over food.
If you spy something on your neighbor’s plate that looks like it might be tasty, and you have an uncontrollable desire to validate that perception, the correct protocol would be to say, in a clear, friendly voice , “Do you mind if I try a bit of your (name the item)? ” What is crucial is the timing, do not make the utterance until your arm, fork in hand, is fully extented and directly over the enticing morsel and then go in for the kill immediately, hopefully you will snag it before you have even finished the sentence. If your dining companion knows their manners, they will have no option at this point, exept to graciously say, “Why no, I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I am.”
Another perfectly acceptable method to obtain a sample from your dining companion’s plate would be to look over your companion’s shoulder, with great intensity, and excitment in your voice and say, “Is that George Clooney over there?” All the whilst doing the arm-hand-fork extension maneuver at lighting speed. In this case you have thoughtfully provided your dining companion an opportunity for some exercise at the table, as they whip their head around, trying to see George. If executed correctly, your dining companion will not even have to trouble themselves with a gracious reply giving you permission to mooch off of their plate.
In both of the scenarios above it will definately be beneficial if the Working Stiff snagging the food is already experienced with the Boarding House Reach.