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Plan ahead to protect your dessert

Fri., March 22, 2013, midnight

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Somehow I missed the memo that desserts in restaurants are a communal affair.

We are able to go out to dinner only on special occasions, and I limit my alcohol intake to be able to afford dessert. If I order soup, it will always come with one spoon, but the waitstaff almost always decides for me that my small, expensive dessert should come with a spoon for each person at the table.

I have had people take three or four bites while telling us about their co-workers who came in today with the start of a flu bug.

I am tempted to make a pre-emptive strike and tell the server that if he brings everyone a spoon, fine, just bring two desserts and I’ll take the second one off the tip, but I know this is not only rude, but also allows for who-knows-what to happen to the food before it is served. Do you have any suggestions for me?

GENTLE READER: Yes: Stop threatening the waitstaff, and not just because you suspect them capable of nasty reprisals. Although Miss Manners shares your dislike of the automatic assumption of sharing, a great many people do ask for extra spoons, and it is not a high crime to hope to save a trip.

However, she will protect you from sharing your goodie. Just make your pre-emptive strike a bit less harsh. You could say good-naturedly to the server, “Thank you, but I’m sure this is so good that I’ll want to devour it all,” and to your companions, “Does anyone else want to order one?”


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