What I’m meaning is sharing at, say, work pretty much on an everyday basis… not the once-a-week or once-a-month potluck everyone is used too.

In many cultures it is considered a mark of hospitality and friendship to share food… and considered an insult to refuse such an offer. This can make life a tiny bit difficult for those trying to diet!

It happens that a good number of my co-workers are from Latin or Caribbean countries with all the diverse ethnic backgrounds and customs they encompass… we even have some from Morocco and one from Ethiopia…. and sharing of food seems to be more or less a custom in all of them.

Most of the time if you even glance at the food it’s “Would you like some?” and before you can answer food is scooped onto your plate.

The guys from Morocco who are unable to eat now during the day because of Ramadan go to a nearby Mosque after dark where free food is passed out after the last prayers of the day and they have been bringing lots of it back to the office to share… this is even encouraged by the Mosque… and a lot of the food is spectacular.

Is the sharing considered frugal? Probably not in a strict dollars and cents sense.

What I have noticed is that I tend now to spend a little more on the fixings for lunch either by preparing more than I would normally bring or by preparing something a little fancier… like needing a slightly more expensive cut of meat, say, chicken legs instead of chicken wings or special spices… (though Lord knows some of the things they bring in are absolutely delicious and are made of things regular Americans won’t touch… Pig lips or pig ears anyone? Greasy if you must know!

What I do get is a chance to try all sorts of different foods… without making a full recipe at home in order to find out I don’t like it OR spending $10-$15 at an ethnic restaurant to learn the same lesson… or learn other ways of cooking a staple… the Sindhi Biryani Chicken and Rice from the (primarily Pakistani-Indian) Mosque is great and I’ve since found the spice mixture in the Middle Eastern Market so I can try my hand at my own.

And I get the benefits of Socializing with my friends and co-workers… almost like a party at work everyday… much better than taking a sandwich and sitting on a bench by myself.

I’m only spending a couple of more bucks per week, probably less than $5, and while it’s not exactly frugal in a money sense the payoff for the little extra you spend is worth way more than the money.

Do you get the chance to “share food” at work?

If you did get the chance to do it on a semi-daily basis would the benefits outweigh the extra cost?

Photo credit: stock.xchng.