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Dining out: avoiding "dish duplication"


Gifted Gourmet
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the phenomenon of dish duplication. For those of you unfamiliar with the phenomenon, this is the policy -- apparently common in this subculture -- whereby no two people at the are allowed to order the same dish, presumably to allow the greatest number of dishes to be tried.
from Steven Shaw, circa 2001

Even if you are not in the business of being a restaurant critic or food writer, do you ever dine out with friends and/or family and suggest that everyone have something different? This to allow different tastes among the diners? Or is the idea of "sharing" repugnant?

I think it is a wonderful idea, especially with personally close friends ... your thoughts? :rolleyes:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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My DH and I often 'negotiate' what we will order, especially in a new restaurant. When we go out with certain friends the negotiation can be done among all of us. Variety is the spice of life! Its always fun to decide who has the best plate. Sometimes we like each other's better and switch or decide they are both excellent and trade entire plates 1/2 way through.

Happiness is a willing participant :wub:

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I usually coordinate ordering with my dining partner(s) so that we get different things, for just the reasons stated above, but there are occasional exceptions to the rule when there's some item both of us just have to have.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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doesn't everyone do this??? :shock:

I can't really think of the last time I ordered a meal "just for me"....

My husband and I often switch halfway through the meal, we even share sushi. Sushi is usually served two pieces to a plate, so we each eat one that way we can taste as many as possible. :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I don't mind sharing, and my order usually reflects it, but I don't like to negotiate to get what I want, i.e., I want beef, and they don't, then I suggest chicken and they say "Nah, why don't you get the shrimp?" Then I say, "Well what are you getting?" "I'm getting the pork, is that ok?". "Sure" I answer, "but I don't want shrimp". Then they reply, "well I'm not eating beef or chicken and shrimp or fish is the only thing left." For crying out loud, it's MY dinner.

So occasionally, I just order without others in mind, and take the heat.

Emma Peel

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My best friend and I usually negotiate dinner orders so as not to duplicate; my husband and I order to please ourselves, with an eye towards also sharing. But when my exteded family eats out, everyone's on their own.

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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hi all

Too be honest i enjoy sharing a meal. even more so when you consider " cote de beouf "," rack of lamb "and " poulet de bresse" , the list could go on ....

there is some real treats to be had for those willing to share , and it brings a sence of occasion to the meal , especially if the dish to be shared is a whole suckling pig.which i have been fortunate to enjoy a few times at the fabulous st john , london

i once shared a glorious meal with a cook buddy of mine ( aslo at st john ) . it was a pie, a very generous two portion pie i might add , made of rabbit and pigs trotters, the pie was constructed with a roast veal bone ( with marrow intact ) protruding from its centre.

nice thread btw

tt
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I pretty much refuse to eat with people who dont order as a table and then share all their dishes. In all but the most upscale of places, I'm guilty of actually passing plates around my party of 2, 4, 6+ people in a clockwise motion. It works well. And we NEVER order the same thing. To do that would be sacrelige.

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When I'm out with just my husband, we most often do order two different dishes and try tastes. The upside is that we get to try more than one entree. The downside is often one dish is better than the other, so one person feels guilty they have a better dinner and the other person feels cheated that their dinner isn't as good.

But sometimes we both want the same dish. What do we do? We both order it. No sense in one of us feeling annoyed that we couldn't have what we really wanted just because someone else did.

When we're dining with friends, the only time we coordinate ordering is when we're eating family style - Chinese or Thai, for example. Any other time, people order what they want. I don't think I'd want to eat with people who prevented me from having what I wanted for dinner.

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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My husband and I usually order only one entree because we're both small eaters... and quite often our choice will light upon the same "this looks interesting!" one! GMTA, and all that. Or, we'll order a selection of several different appetizers. The one exception is if we're eating in a Chinese restaurant and he wants to order bittermelon, which I hate. Then I'll choose another dish to my liking only. (Fair's fair!)

When I'm dining with a friend, we'll either choose the menu together (as in tapa- type dishes) or order what we each please, even if it's the same. If the two dishes are different, so much the better. And I'll always offer the other person a generous taste of my dish, presuming (as usually happens) that s/he will do the same for me.

Large table of friends/family = everyone orders a different dish and they get passed around. Large table at a meeting = usually everyone orders what s/he pleases and nothing gets passed around.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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I don't think I'd want to eat with people who prevented me from having what I wanted for dinner.

Marcia.

Here Here !

Yes, you're right, so I started thinking about it and realized that some people really don't care what they're eating. It's hard to explain to someone who is always on a diet, that I take food selection very seriously. There is one friend I dine with and we have the same tastes so we always get duplicate meals.

When ordering Thai, Chinese, or Indian it's always a family style selection.

Edited by emmapeel (log)

Emma Peel

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Hummm, I don't like sharing, actually I hate sharing more specially when another fork pokes at my dish.

And if I wanted to taste the other dish then I would have ordered the other dish. M'enfin!

It simply disturbs the decorum!

I even get put off by people crunching on their Crudites and double dipping after taking a bite or the unknown fingers rummaging in a bowl of Salaisons. Yuuk

Edited by Almass (log)
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...I think it is a wonderful idea, especially with personally close friends ... your thoughts?  :rolleyes:

Sharing food is great. It obviously depends on what you're eating as you wouldn't do it at just any meal. Best time to do it -- no matter what kind of restaurant or cuisine -- is a new place. No better way to sample a good cross-section of the menu that way.

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Hummm, I don't like sharing, actually I hate sharing more specially when another fork pokes at my dish.

And if I wanted to taste the other dish then I would have ordered the other dish. M'enfin!

It simply disturbs the decorum![...]

I respect your point about decorum, but the solution for the other point is to put some of your dish on the other person's plate (even better: on their bread dish) before you've used your fork or eaten any of it. Whether you give the person more later, after you've eaten some, depends on how close you are to them and how comfortable they are with that.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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If you're invited to someone's house for dinner, do you worry about "dish duplication"?

A dinner at a restaurant isn't quite the same thing, but some of the most pleasant restaurant meals come close -- especially when you let the restaurant choose for you.

Here are links to notes on two of the most rewarding restaurant meals I can recall, at both ends of the cost spectrum: one at L'Ambroisie in Paris, and the other at Chef Haourari's little restaurant and pizzeria in Tunisia.

In both cases, the restaurant chose most of the dishes for us. In both cases, we all had the same dishes. At both restaurants, there was joy in sharing the experience of the same foods. And no worries about "dish duplication"!

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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I don't like sharing but I like tasting. When I get my plate of food, I want to be in charge of that, and I will have a specific order in which to eat the things on it. So no swapping plates around for me thank you. However I do like to taste the dishes my husband orders, we usually give eachother little bites of everything.

I like to order as many different dishes as possible, even if I'm not going to taste them. (I might choose not to taste them because my husband orders something I really don't like or if the taste of his dish is going to clash completely with my dinner.) I still want to see what it looks like! Having the same plates before you is boring! So I try to negotiate the ordering with him.. which is difficult.. because he will keep saying 'oh I don't know yet'.. and then decide what to have the split second the waiter is at the table to take our order!

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In both cases, the restaurant chose most of the dishes for us.  In both cases, we all had the same dishes.  At both restaurants, there was joy in sharing the experience of the same foods.  And no worries about "dish duplication"!

when the restaurant chooses for you, it's entirely different I think. I have had many of those meals and indeed, it can be very interesting to all be eating the same food. For instance at winetasting dinners, this can lead to interesting conversation about the food & wine, in much more detail then when you're all eating something different. The shared experience can be wonderful.

But in those cases, you don't have a choice. When you do have a choice (as in a regular restaurant setting) I feel it's somehow limiting and boring to have the same dish as my dining companion. When the choice is there I want to make the most of it.

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I don't do this. I don't even like ordering Chinese with a mind to pleasing the table. If I want a spicy dish yet someone has already ordered a bland dish using the same main ingredient I don't like to hear: "Don't get that, we already have whatever-it-is". That's an experience I don't want repeated.

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I had a client that every time we would go out to eat, no matter how many people joined us, he always ordered last. Finally one day I asked him why, he responded that he didn't want to order the same as anyone else. Interestingly he never asked or wanted tastes of anyone else’s order either. I think he was a little freaky (in an interesting way of course). I'm getting that same vibe among some of you who need to orchestrate orders. :laugh:

If someone actually tried to tell me what to order out of selfishness and not because they wanted me to "try" their fav dish, that would be my last meal with them. No question.

I certainly don't mind giving people tastes once I am into my dish a bit. My Dad had this ultimate contraption that was a fork welded onto the end of a car antenna. When he saw something on another plate he wanted to try he would (half jokingly) sneak the full extension of the antenna out (about 36 inches) and say something to distract you and look away. He was then in your plate fumbling around long enough always to get caught, and cause a pretty good laugh.

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If someone actually tried to tell me what to order out of selfishness and not because they wanted me to "try" their fav dish, that would be my last meal with them.  No question.

I see this as the problem with sharing. I don't think it's selfishness on their part, it's about compromise. When ordering to share, it is assumed that the diners will come to a consensus, and it's not always possible. I think this is the nature of the thread -- do you "avoid dish duplication." My answer is "within reason." So I'll have my deep fried General Tso's Chicken and steak frites without a blink. I am not necessarily interested in trying others' dishes anyway. (If I wanted what they ordered, I'd order it as well.)

Edited by emmapeel (log)

Emma Peel

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I would agree with emmapeel. If I'm with a group and half the group orders the same dish, it doesn't bother me. Doesn't that show we have good taste? :biggrin:

At a Chinese restaurant, dishes are typically ordered family style. So, everybody eats the same things. When I order for a group, I try to order a variety of dishes (chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, fish, vegetables, etc.) prepared in a variety of ways (stir-fry, steamed, deep-fried, spicy, roasted, etc.), avoiding duplication. That's in a Chinese restaurant serving food family-style.

Am I mistaken, or do I detect an implication that dish duplication is some sort of ... "sin," because certain people don't want to "share"??

GG, what are YOUR thoughts on this? :smile:

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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