Family Style Eating: Isn’t for Everyone



I love eating. I love eating out. I think eating is one of the greatest pleasures in life. As such, I expect every meal to be satisfying. I expect most of my meals to meet a deeper hunger. A psychological hunger.

Maybe that is too much to expect out of life?

Growing up, I didn’t have much in terms of food. Food didn’t meet a higher psychological hunger back then. I grew up quite poor and we had to find ways to make food last. At that point in my life, food was about sustenance and surviving.  As I grew older and started to work (earn an income), food took on a different role in my life

All of a sudden  I was eating out, trying new foods, and trying new fancy dishes.  It was a new version of family style eating for me.

All of a sudden I was eating fusion cuisine which makes me laugh. Aren’t all cuisines fusion in some respect?  I was also doing 2-5 business meals a week. It gave me a chance to explore new places, new foods and great drinks. Breaking bread can help a business relationship or completely tank it.  Think about it, so many things can go wrong at a business lunch or dinner: allergic reaction, bad conversation, bad food, very good drinks and so on.   There are some people that should never ever do a business lunch. They are just bad at it.

We also have family style restaurants popping up everywhere where their big schtick is shared dishes.  And while such a concept makes sense to me (although perhaps deadly in that I have severe shellfish allergy), for some people shared dishes is an anathema. You can see the look of disgust on their faces or the anger at being “forced” to eat smaller portions and a wide variety.  I recall a time when a work colleague could barely sit still at the restaurant table because he was so disgusted at the fact that we would be sharing the food. You could see him monitoring where each fork went and what touched which plate. I thought he was going to enter a full blown panic attack. Most of us tried to enjoy the meal but his constant squirming put a damper that not even wonderful cocktails could alleviate.


So what does family style eating man to you or society anymore?  If a restaurant were to truly do such a concept right it would have couches in front of a tv and make sure everyone has a cell phone or iPad in hand.  What am I thinking. I am sure there is such a restaurant on Brooklyn somewhere that charges $30 an entree for such an experience.



5 replies »

  1. You are so right about the true “family eating style”. At least at my house. But I am not a fan of family eating style at restaurants. Often times the food ordered is not something I would eat. I just avoid it. If I want to eat like that, I’ll stay home and do it. When I go out I want to have something I will enjoy.


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