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I didn't need to read Fulghum's official biography to know he'd never worked as a restaurant server (although it was interesting to discover he'd been a ditch digger and a singing cowboy.)
Servers generally hate sharing. Not with each other, of course – it's common to find a restaurant's last slice of pie in the server station with seven forks surrounding it. The trouble comes when customers exhibit the same behavior, insisting on splitting entrees instead of ordering their own.
The problem's largely a financial one: The decision to order one plate instead of two costs me about $5, a pretty significant sum that could have been used to buy my lunch the next day. Many restaurant owners, who are equally interested in getting guests to eat full portions, have instituted plate sharing fees to discourage such menu mischief.
But entrée sharing bothers me for another reason. It violates the spirit of restaurant going, which should involve a bit of indulgence and an appreciation of the chef's craft. At the movies, paying $6 for the film's first half isn't an option. Nor do orchestras offer patrons a discount if they promise to listen only to the woodwinds. I'm always surprised when guests are disappointed when their divided lobster arrives as two ugly, hacked-up bits, or a split order of chowder looks paltry in the bowl. Most restaurant dishes aren't designed to be shared. One entrée per person is a core element of the restaurant experience.
That said, I'm all for guests meting out samples or arranging an impromptu family-style feast. Still, the ratio of person to entrée should hold.
If you must share, I hope you will tip as though you'd ordered appropriately for two. And don't expect the kitchen to do the splitting for you. Even better, remember another rule every kindergartener knows: Eat what's on your plate.