Jordan’s Green-Guide #eatingout

Appetizers, starters, crudités, main dishes, entrées, desserts, and aperitifs - eating at restaurants can be a lot.  The trick is to not have it be a lot of food waste -- both in your stomach (i.e. making you sick) or in a landfill (i.e. making the earth sick).

When brunch, lunch, or dinner concludes, seldom are the number of diners to empty plates equal.  That is, food is wasted.  You might think, yeah well, that’s an easy fix; order less.  If not for social norms, it would be that simple.  If you’re not convinced of social norms, try ordering a small house salad next time you’re eating out with friends, then proceed to finish all of their unfinished food.  You’ll encounter three things:

  1. A feeling that you appear cheap or ill-mannered

  2. Uncomfortable tension in asking if you’re friend is finished with their meal

  3. Difficulty assessing who pays for what when the check arrives

I’ve been doing this for some time now, and it never feels comfortable or polite.  So, what’s the solution?  I don’t really have one.  Despite un-comfortability, I continue to order lightly and finish others meals, but it remains awkward and I'm quite certain that most of my friends think I am a total cheapo.

All I can propose is this -- if at our next dinner, we all had a conversation about food waste and global hunger, maybe we could set aside our egos and move beyond judging each other and ourselves.  I welcome a table and a world where we all agree that reducing food waste and hunger is more important than appearing polite or cheap. And I do believe we agree.  So let’s communicate better, share more, and eat them scraps off the over-orderer’s plate!  


Jordan McKay