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How to Thwart the Double Dipper

Social etiquette is learned from environmental sources. We learn cues of how to act in a situation based upon feedback from outside influences surrounding us. That said, you can imagine someone who is taught to keep their food separate and individualized is horrified when another person comes along and plunks their chip into the salsa serving dish. They will definitely lose their appetite if the offender should do the unthinkable--dunk the partially eaten chip back into the serving dish again: The Classic Double Dip.

If all the people at your gathering are comfortable with the intimacy of sharing drinks, taking bites of each other's food, and eating off common plates, then there won't be any issues with double dipping. But chances are someone is a closet germaphobe who will only eat food no one else has dug their tongue-licked fork into. What can be done to make the party fun for everyone involved?

Here's a solution to thwart the double-dipper: Prior to the party, divide the food into individualized containers with lids. Just this week we had a private gathering with lots of loved ones. When setting up the buffet table for pork tacos and chips and salsas, we ladled the salsas into individual cups with lids.

Other handy tips include:

*Using To-Go boxes--they make transportation easier--not only from the serving tables to guest chairs, but also for those bringing leftovers home for later.

*Most of the food items had duplicates across from each other on the buffet table, such that the line of guests quickly moved down both sides.

*Napkins and utensils awaited at the end of the table, so guests don't have to juggle them while trying to dish up food on their plates.

*Tortilla strips were placed in trays in the middle of each guest table for easy serving.

The result? Guests were happily fed and the party was a success!

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