Do you care what others at your table are having?

This question stems from a coworker. Her husband hates mayo/ranch/sausage gravy/any white sauce. He hates it to the point that she *can’t *eat such sauces at lunch (nope, he’s not present). If she orders anything with mayo she brushes, flosses and hopes he doesn’t detect it :confounded:

I share his prejudice: I hate mayo, SOS, sausage gravy. But I really don’t care what others at the table eat. Sit across from me and slather your sandwich in an inch of mayo on each side? Eat SOS? As long as you don’t expect me to partake, I don’t really care.

I’ll admit, I’m a little sad at well-done steaks in a good steakhouse.

Yes, I do care what others at my table are having. I try to order something different than what the other is having. :slight_smile:


Signs of an unhealthy relationship.


Yes, I care in a selfish control-freak sort of way. If I think I can get away with it (and sometimes I can), I create my own buffet by encouraging my dining companions to order all the things I want to eat, so I can taste them. Going to a restaurant with me is like going out with a food critic, except there’s no newspaper to pick up the tab.


Absolutely not . It’s about sharing food with friends or family . What someone doe’s with their food is secondary .

That is a borderline (?) psychotic control issue on the side of the husband.

That said, if I’m out with my man, we try to order different things just to be able to sample a wide array of dishes. I wouldn’t expect anything from anyone else I am eating with, nor would I comment negatively on someone’s food choices. Eat whatever makes you happy, and I will do the same.


I’m on linguafood’s team here.


Yeah, I’m not sure I could rush to any specific diagnosis. I don’t think I’d want to. There’re clearly real problems, but any fun-loving Freudian might want to have the guy play with those “white sauce” issues for a while.

As to the OP, I’m happy when others order whatever makes them happy, but I’m not afraid to suggest to them that maybe a coordinated ordering campaign can lead to the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” joy of sharing.

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Agreed. I’m just not sure of it’s the one the guy had with his mom, or with his dad.

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Absolutely - cause I wanna taste it!

Only if it smells so bad I cant be near it. French andouille is the only thing that has q ualified thus far.

Hasnt led me to leave the table, but I have thought about it.

My husband and I have been married for more than 20 years and the sight and smell of mayonnaise pretty much ruins his appetite. I enjoy mayonnaise (although here in Italy, it is next to impossible to find any decent stuff – it all comes in squeeze tubes!), but I don’t eat it when we are sharing meals.

It seems to to be just a general cultural phenomenon that people really have started reaching for things to feel virtuous about or put others down for, a sort of hyper-competiveness. It may be that I read more food discussion than ever (because there is more of it than ever), but I find it strange that people now keep loudly asserting that they are a better person in some way because they eat everything, or aren’t repulsed by what other’s eat, or this or that. I also think it is wrong at make critical comments on other people’s menu choices in a restaurants, but if you are married to someone who has aversions, that is a different relationship.

Living in Italy, where people dining together generally order food for the table, rather than negotiate with each other about who will order what so everybody can faste everything on the menu, I rather enjoy no longer having 5 other people sticking their forks in my dinner Of course in Italy, recipes are usually at their best when cooked for 4 or more people, so you want to eat as a group, and Italian food really doesn’t lend itself to slamming and mixing up a bunch of differing flavours nano-seconds apart. The idea of an Italian meal is that it has a whole integrity, a harmony, start to finish, like a musical composition – not every antipasto pairs with every primi, or secondo. It’s just very different from what has come to be the norm in other places where eating out means diners are supposed to maximise variety and sensational tastes at one sitting.

[Edited to add: I am extremely grateful to whatever fates there are that arranged that I not fall in love with a man, perfect for me in every way, who liked to eat every morning for breakfast eggs sunny side up and covered with ketchup. It would have taken a more virtuous wife than I am not to ask for some consideration of my gag-reflex.)

No attempt to put on airs of superiority. Just commenting that if a wife can not eat something while away from her husband for fear he may detect something that he doesn’t like on her breath that it just doesn’t sound like a heathy relationship and there are control issues that go far beyond mayo. In the scenario she was not sharing a table or meal with her husband which is a different situation


Oh man, andouette is perhaps the ONLY food I have actually had to spit out and not just try to politely swallow. Fortunately, I was by myself and I had been trying all sorts of different saucissons from the supermarche.

I made the mistake of buying and trying before knowing what it was…

If I was in your coworker situation, I would divorce the guy! He has his freedom not to eat, she has the freedom to eat what she wants! Jeeeez!

Actually, I have a friend in a similar situation, she doesn’t eat poultry and meat, only fish and vegetables. Her partner eats everything. She doesn’t particularly like the smell of meat or bird in her kitchen. The situation is a bit easier, since she is the one cooking, she cooks what she like, if he wants to eat meat, he can do it at lunch in a restaurant.

I care about what the others eat, in a restaurant, I might try to order differently than them. The problem is more to prepare a dinner that guests all have different preferences in food, it can be a headache these days.


Actually there are things I don’t particularly care about but husband is passionate about it. After a while, I become more enthusiastic about it…(rice pudding, pickled cucumber) and vice versa…he dislikes mayonnaise and beans but now he can eat it when it’s well prepared. I guess it’s the sharing part.

I don’t like the century egg, I don’t stop him from eating it.

On a slightly different note.

I probably don’t really care what other people eat vast majority of the time, but then I ask myself “Do I absolutely don’t care what others eat in ALL circumstances?”

Then, I realize I do care in certain situations. For example, I am certain that I will care if the other person is eating dog meat. I probably won’t care if the other person is eating grasshoppers, but I will probably not be very happy if him/her eating a dolphin. I can think of a few more other things which I will make a fuss about.

but we’ll also then have to assume that if it’s a restaurant, then you knew what was on the menu when they handed it to you, and your time to get up and leave was before your companions tuck into a plate of Flipper fricasee. I’ll also point out the rarity of getting a surprise like that – not that many places in the world would have something like that on the menu to begin with.

If it were in someone’s home and you would still blow a gasket at being served something culturally acceptble in someone’s home, well, there are a whole ton of other issues at play.


Maybe, and probably like you said that the problem would have surfaced earlier – in real life situations. That being said, my point is that it would not be technically correct for me to say that “I don’t care what the other person is eating in all situations” In most cases, I probably won’t care, but there are a few situations which I would care.

I’m in that camp of such that I like when people order different things. I like to see the variety in presentations, depending on who I’m with, exchange tastes. Having said that, people I dine with can order whatever they want. I certainly don’t base my choice on what someone else wants me to have.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t order something that would affect the enjoyment of my dining companion- ie. Someone with a bad allergy- I have a friend who can’t be anywhere near shellfish. If something would make my dining companion “ill” I would hold off as well.

Steak tartare- you think it’s gross? Good, then you won’t ask for a bite. Yum.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

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