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entree altruism: plate-swapping...

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Not About Food 34

entree altruism: plate-swapping...

silence9 | Sep 18, 2006 07:01 PM

Hello... Sometimes while ordering at a sit-down restaurant, I'll watch the process unfold as my wife will hone in on an entree choice that I'm reasonably certain she will ultimately not enjoy. Despite subtle alternative recommendations from myself or gentle dissuations from a helpful server, the wife will (2 times out of every 10) order a plate full of food that will not suit her. The look on her face, as the ill-chosen entree is set before her, is classic: a co-mingling of fear and shock and regret/remorse. It is a touchingly poignant moment to see her proceed to cheer herself up and make the very best of her selection by eating what she can, with a very brave face. Not wanting to make things worse, I might try to offer large tastings/sharings of my own entree. Be even well before this occurs, while still mulling over our respective orders, I'll find myself in the following mindset: I'll scan the entire menu and try to find an entree (ostensibly for myself) that, once my wife realizes the folly of her own choice, might appeal to her as a substitution. I actually want the pork cheeks braised in mustard. But I'll go ahead and get the trusty roasted half-chicken with garlic mashed potatoes as a pre-emptive way to offer a plate-switch, once her own selection bursts the anticipatory bubble. And I'll take on her own selection since, well, I'm much more easily pleased and will eat just about anything. Sometimes this is a win-win situation, but just as often it's an unspoken compromise frought with longings for a happier ending. I cannot and will not foist my (at times) more informed opinions on her like a chowish brute, prior to reception of the grub. But afterward, I wonder if i am just a culinary enabler. Is it wrong for me to not follow my own appetite and put my own inclinations first? Is it bordering on the ridiculous to try to side-step menu minefields, by looking out for the best interests of one's dining companion in so serpentine a manner? Do YOU ever order something for yourself, because it will ultimately end up upon your companion's fork? Has the world gone mad, or merely the world within my skull?

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