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How Do You Pay the Bill at Restaurants?

1. If you want separate checks, tell the server before you start ordering.
2. If you are opposed to splitting the check evenly because you don't eat or drink much, bring cash, including small bills.
3. The tip should be split evenly among all guests, even if everyone is paying only for what they ate. You all got the same service and it's just easier that way.
4. If you are paying with multiple credit cards and it is not even, write down how much to put on each card. Note: the server cannot add the tip, so don't ask him or her to do that.
5. If your friends can't agree on how to pay a check, don't go out to eat with them.

Olive Garden

I had a roommate in college who "cooked" there. He would bring home giant bags of the ready made soup that the kitchen staff needed only heat and serve. It was great for poor college students, but I would never pay money for a bowl of it.

Check Splitting-Why so difficult?

If you ask before ordering, it is not a problem, at least for me. I have to organize my notes and make sure I put all of the items that belong on a particular check in the little box that corresponds to the people on that check. Any server who is careful about note-taking should not have a problem knowing who had what. It can be VERY time consuming, however, to split a check. Every POS system that I have worked with only permits you to split items off of a check after they have all been ordered. If you have to scroll through a very long list of food and drinks, it is hard to find everything in a timely fashion. But your problem seems to stem from the server's inability to keep good notes as to who had what.

That said, asking your server to split a check for a large party at the end of a meal can be problematic. It's hard to know who had what and how many. This is particularly true with a table that drinks a lot.

What "normal" food have you never had?

I hadn't had pierogies until college. Where I live, pierogies are a way of life.

Keep all these cooking magazines...or....*gasp*...recycle them?

Years ago, I purged by giant Gourmet collection. Little did I know they would end publication and I'd regret it. I find myself buying old issues again at used book stores.

What to do with a gallon of Maple Syrup?

It's good in baked beans. Food and Wine has a good recipe. I don't remember what issue, however, it is at home and I am not.

But it seems so easy...

Fried chix. Even with a thermometer and careful heat management, my chix is burnt on the outside and dangerously raw in the middle.

foods to bring to a camping music festival?

We are going to Grateful fest for the weekend of the 4th, and I am taking the following:

First night: Steak, cous cous with garlic and parm, peas from my garden, zucchini to grill, also from garden

Second night: Pasta (making sauce at home and freezing. Should be thawed in cooler by day 2.

Third night: hot dogs and veggie dogs, baked beans, corn.

Other: Pancake mix and eggs for breakfast; fruit, cheese, nuts, and protein bars for lunch. Mountain pies and smores for desert.

Beer, wine, and other

Heinz-like Ketchup

Heinz makes a ketchup without HFCS. Making one's own food is always better, but not always worth the effort. I use so little ketchup, it would be a waste of energy to make it myself. I'm also from Pittsburgh, so I gotta stick with Heinz. But, if one has time on their hands and tomato paste to spare, who am I to begrudge them for making ketchup.

Eating in Public

The buses and trolleys where I live have signs that ask people not to eat. I ride the bus everyday and surprisingly, people generally follow the rules. I have only seen meal eating once (except for the occasional granola bar or bag of chips). But, I do hate strong food smells in confined spaces, so people should be more considerate.

Culinary schools

@Tupper Cooks: She isn't saying all schools have to accept her, she is only asking that people suggest schools that will.

If you can't find a job in a kitchen without experience, try starting as a hostess or waitstaff. This will also give you some perspective into what it is like to work in a restaurant. You will quickly discover that the kitchen is really hot, the cooks get yelled at by all of the servers and managers, and your only friends will be those with whom you work. My brother went to the CIA and happens to have a job that is exactly as it described here. Fortunately, he got in with a corporate restaurant and is in upper kitchen management and makes far more than I make as a teacher and server. He is one of the few lucky ones.

What atmosphere turns you on or off when you are dining out?

Servers dislike unruly children more than patrons. I recently waited on a lovely family with two youngish children (7 or 8). One got the pork chop with pineapple salsa and orzo cake, and the other got the salmon with spinach and herb mashed potatoes. They were well behaved and they ate all of their food. Why can't more kids be like that!

The reality for truly poor on food stamps

Restaurants hire servers often because there is always someone who can't hack it or gets fired for stealing steaks. In all of the restaurants in which I have worked, none of them had advertised jobs. I just walked in and applied, and I don't live in NY. If the city is big enough to have a bus system, there are restaurants hiring whether they are advertising or not. Trust me, tell your friend to just try it. Never assume.

The reality for truly poor on food stamps

It is unfortunate that people do not make enough money to buy healthy food. I don't know why more unemployed/under employed people don't wait on tables. I've done it since high school and you can totally make a living. Even at a mid-level restaurant you can bring home $500/week in cash. If you're living off of $900/month, $2000 would be a cake-walk. There is no shame in serving. And, you can often score free food.

pea shoots - what to do with them?

I put the leaves in salads and use the entire shoot in stir fry. Yummy. Use the entire shoot in anything that is cooked. You can use them like you would use peas in pasta.

pea shoots - what to do with them?

I put the leaves in salads and use the entire shoot in stir fry. Yummy. Use the entire shoot in anything that is cooked. You can use them like you would use peas in pasta.

How Do You Split the Restaurant Tab with a Big Group?

If you tell your server to split the check AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MEAL, it is not a problem. Although, it may still be time consuming, so be patient. Large parties that order lots of food and lots of drinks can't expect to get separate and accurate checks if they wait until the check is presented to ask for them. I am not going to remember who had 3 beers and who had 2.

Are your parents unadventurous eaters?

I seriously have NO IDEA why I spelled vegetable veggie table.

Are your parents unadventurous eaters?

There is something wrong with being stuck in your ways if it means you never eat a veggie table or fruit. I know who eat only chicken and alfredo and it is terribly unhealthy. Veggies are scary for some people but you must learn to overcome that if you want to be healthier.

No salt needed in pasta water, or most anything else

Really Fred? You've never tried unsalted pasta after eating salted pasta and found it tastes terrible? If you cook from scratch and avoid processed foods, you can add salt to your food. Why are you a serious eats reader if you like bland food?


MaltyMom has yet to respond to the many questions posted here. Interesting. Perhaps she is carefully writing a logical, well-reasoned explanation for her strongly expressed opinion. I look forward to reading it as I am genuinely interested in hearing why people hold the beliefs that they hold. Are you making any of Paula's recipes for Christmas MaltyMom? Reminder: there, their, and they're have three different meanings.

What do you mean, you hate _________?!

Vegetables. I can't stand adults that don't like veggies. That is soooo childish.


The major problem with American cheese and canned fruit is not that it hails from the industrialized food system, it is that it does not taste good.

Am I being too sensitive or do women still get the crappy tables?

I've served and worked as a hostess for almost 20 years. While men do tip better then women about half the time, seating is not based on this expectation. The server most deserving of the crappiest tip does not have the worst table in his or her section. Seating is based on whose turn it is to get a table. I do find it odd that you would get a terribly poor table when others are available. But, it is possible that it was that server's turn and there was nothing else available in his or her section.


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