Odd Food Question

Oct 3rd, 2007, 07:55 PM
  #1  
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Odd Food Question

Okay, down to the nitty gritty. My husband and I often share meals - supposedly to cut down on calories though I'm not sure how well it's working. Anyway, in our new trimmer pre-trip bodies we would like to continue this practice to some degree in europe. I think Italy will be okay with the 'family style' meals but what about Germany. Will they frown on ordering one meal for two people?
zgjdenver is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 08:20 PM
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I don't considering ordering one meal for two people "family style".

If you don't want to order in a normal fashion, I'd pick the most casual places... cafes, bars, picnics, etc. instead of restaurants regardless of what country you are in.
suze is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 09:24 PM
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I personally think it would be very strange and socially awkward to order one meal for two adults in Italy. The portions are smaller than American size portions anyway plus you have the possibility of ordering only an entree and skipping the first plate. Because I don't eat meat, I have sometimes asked for a first plate to be my entree so that I wind up with a larger helping of the food on the menu as a first plate and even then, the portion is smaller than we are used to in the U.S. In fact, I usually lose weight in Italy just because of portion sizes.

I also think that it's important to make an effort to blend in when travelling so that people do not say out of your earshot, "Oh, well, what can you expect ~ after all, they are Americans!"

If you want to share one plate, I agree with Suze that you should go to a cafe and sit at the bar and that way, you can order one plate of food and whatever you want to drink.

canyonjane is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 11:12 PM
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It would be extremely peculiar to share a main course in Europe. Sometimes people share starters or desserts, but never the main course. I don't think many restaurants would let you order only one meal for two anyway.
nona1 is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 12:23 AM
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I've never seen anyone share a main course in Italy or Germany, except for maybe a pizza. There's often some version of "small plates" on German menus for those with a lighter appetite, or you can just order a starter or salad.
hausfrau is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 12:46 AM
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As a German, I can say it is quite common to share a meal. In most of the times, you get a regular dish and a second plate, but sometimes the chef will share the dish in the kitchen and serve two half portions.

You say: "Wir möchten uns das Gericht teilen."

Other options are indeed to order small dishes (starter = "Vorspeise" or small dish = "kleines Gericht", "Zwischengericht"). Many menus include such small dishes. Some restaurants offer small dishes for senior citizens ("Seniorenteller").

And here an interesting story:

Some years ago, two gentlemen entered a restaurant in Cologne which then had three Michelin stars. They told the waiter that they wanted to share a dish. However, the waiter refused and said sharing dishes would not be the custom in this restaurant. What the waiter did not know: The twe gentlemen were testers of the Guide Michelin, and although the food was impeccable, the restaurant lost its third star just because of this incident.

In Italy, things are a little different because plates are usually very small (you have to eat four courses to get a full meal).

We once were in a gourmet restaurant in Rome (La Toula), and five members of our family ordered the six-course-menu. My father ordered just a starter and a main dish a la carte. When we were served the other courses, he always got a plate and cutlery in order to taste a bite from his wife's plate.
traveller1959 is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 01:09 AM
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No problem in Poland! Our request to share a single dinner has never been refused. I do offer to pay a supplement fee. Our pizza stops offer to make any pizza half and half. My wife has Hawaii and I have the four cheese bit. This service without extra charge. Ask? Often single portions are so large that much is discarded. Take-away service is also available. Shocked? We ate Thanksgiving dinner in Salt Lake City. The special was a complete (but small) roasted turkey. Its remains were packed and offered to us...We declined and suggested someone on the staff might like it.
GSteed is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 01:22 AM
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Pizza is a bit different - the large ones are intended for sharing (unless you are my glutton of a teenage son).
nona1 is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 05:53 AM
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Thank you for your help. I didn't realize the portions were smaller in Italy. So we will go with regular orders until we determine that we want to try a regular order for one and maybe a couple of ala carte orders for the other.
Thank you Travler1959 for the advice on German meals. When we were last there (1990) I seem to recall pretty large portions. We will give your phrase a try.
Just the info I was looking for. Thanks Fodorites.
We are 9 days and counting to departure!
zgjdenver is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 06:12 AM
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I don't have a big appetite to begin with....so when we travel (or even when we go out where we live) I tend to order just an appetizer and then sometimes I will have a few bits of my DH's dinner. Asking for an extra plate has never been an issue.
Grcxx3 is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 06:32 AM
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Our experience has been that the meal size in Europe is much smaller than in the US. That being said, and the fact that we really burn calories throughout the day with lots and lots of walking, climbing stairs, and anything else other than sitting! I'm a small woman, who generally doesn't require a full US restaurant-size meal. However, when traveling in Europe, I eat every morsel on my plate and never feel stuffed. IMO: you shouldn't count on splitting meals in an attempt to control calories or euros.
mkdiebold is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 06:37 AM
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They will "frown" less if you order some wine to go along with your food

suze is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 07:02 AM
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Oh - I may order appetizers and share my DH main course....but I NEVER minimize the amount of wine/beer/etc!!!!!
Grcxx3 is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 01:47 PM
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My husband and I have shared main courses in Italy many times. We did this in Tuscany, Venice, Rome and Florence. We usually ordered a shared appetizer and a shared main course.

No one raised an eyebrow. They were very nice about it and sometimes even split the dish and served it on 2 plates.

Just ask for Uno per Due when you order.
Laurie is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 01:53 PM
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I have also shared dishes often in Italy. Usually between two people we've ordered two first and shared the second, or two seconds and shared the first. When we've bothered to tell the waitstaff our plan, we've received the item have split onto two plates or the item with an extra empty plate for sharing.
ellenem is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 02:07 PM
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It always amazes me to see the variety of opinions you get on this site. One person says 'don't be the ugly american' and the next says 'I do it all the time'. Guess I'll just have to give it a try and see what reactions I get. Thanks especially for the phrases that I can use.
zgjdenver is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 02:27 PM
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If you order schnitzel in Germany (and Austria) you're apt to get a pretty big piece of meat. At one restaurant in Vienna the meat just about covered the entire plate.
Underhill is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 02:55 PM
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I'm not a foodie by any means. Lunch is our biggest meal & we don't go to dinner at white table places in Italy. But for lunch, I never saw small portions. The pasta always covered an American size dinner plate.

At a restaurant on Murano, I saw several members of a family receive their orders of fish & each fish hung over an American size dinner plate - each piece was huge! One member was a little girl (about 6-8) & she ate every bite of the fish, even after eating her plate of pasta! Amazing. We just ordered pasta.

Sometimes, for lunch, we order a little bit of everything & share. There are 3 of us. We may order an appetiser, a small or medium pizza, & a pasta. Then make a buffet out of it. That way we get to taste different items. Then we go for gelato for dessert - of course!

Happy travels, Julie
Julie_Hurst is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 03:11 PM
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All I know is that it does not go over big in Italy. My husband and I frequently share an entree in restaurants here (Bay Area.) We tried it in Italy at some nicer restaurants last year and could feel some very disapproving vibes. I guess it's just not as commonly done as it is here. After a couple of uncomfortable experiences, we ended up always ordering separate entrees, even if we knew we wouldn't eat everything.
LucieV is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 03:27 PM
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>>There are 3 of us. We may order an appetiser, a small or medium pizza, & a pasta. Then make a buffet out of it.<<

>>My husband and I frequently share an entree in restaurants here (Bay Area.) We tried it in Italy at some nicer restaurants last year and could feel some very disapproving vibes.<<

I guess some people pick up on vibes and some don't...
Zerlina is offline  

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