“We don’t share food no, but I don’t really mind”
This is what one of my good Dutch friend here in Rotterdam said, when we were discussing the practice of sharing food amongst friends.
I hadn’t realised, that the idiom, ‘Sharing is Caring’, is perhaps not applicable universally. It took me a while to understand that just because you are friends, it does not imply I can pick food from their plate without asking. I was once having dinner at a restaurant, and we each ordered what we liked. Everyone was neatly eating their respective dishes, when it suddenly hit me why is everyone not sharing and eating. On a spur I told them hey, you can taste my dish. They seemed delighted and responded, oh they can? I was like of course, we are sitting together and eating, sharing is only ‘natural’, and that broke the ice amongst us and we got chatting.
For as long as I can remember, food has been an ice-breaker for me. Shared interest in food, and the hunt for good food is one of the best glues to hold friends together. During my university studies in India, my friends and I would frequently scourge for good eateries. And once we were sitting at the table with full of dishes, everyone digged in. Everyone ordered what they thought was good, and everyone would get a share, and have a taste of everything. More than the enticing aspect of tasting a multitude of dishes, we unabashedly would dive into our friends plate, pick up a piece or two or maybe more, and go on chatting. On my trip to Italy during winters (More on my Italy trip later…) the 6 of us would order 6 different dishes, now multiply that with the times we ate outside. You can make an approximation of the number of Italian dishes I managed to taste 😀
I have fond memories of school and tiffin boxes. Our mothers would pack different dishes everyday, since as kids we can be a picky lot. What stands out is how we would all put our tiffin boxes on one table, and everyone could have their fill. And incase one amongst us didn’t get their tiffin box, it was never a problem, since we would all share our food. We would always have favourites, whose mother cooked which dish the best 😀 My school friend S, her mother cooked the best maggi (instant noodles) with potatoes. The day she brought it, rest assured not a single noodle would be left 😀
My friends A and J here have become used to this habit of mine, rather I think this habit has rubbed off on them as well 😛 I would say it is rather liberating. We humans eat because we are hungry, one of most basic tenets of human nature, and a natural activity. You don’t count, one cookie for each person, everyone gets to eat however much they want, 2, 3 or the whole packet !It shouldn’t be uptight and it is not about eating one’s own share ONLY and eating only for nourishment. We eat to talk and share. We share to show we care, a demonstration of one’s bonding. My bond with my school friend B has still lasted, I still remember everyday once school was over, we would alternatively buy one samosa and share it between us, happily munching them as we boarded our buses and returned home.
By and large most here are still conscious of the portions everyone is eating, afraid that they are not eating more than their share. Sigh…but maybe I have misread it all. Or perhaps it is because my line of thinking follows from a certain cultural perspective. So if there was the last cookie left on the plate, we wouldn’t care that we have already have one already, we would dive in together and the best gets the whole cookie 😀