The economics of dining as a couple

4. Full food communism. A communist economy is a terrible idea. A communist dinner table, on the other hand, truly is a bounteous paradise. This is the final flowering of the dining experience, when the barriers wither away and all ordering is centrally planned, with the fruits distributed equally. You will know that this happy moment has arrived when you start telling the waiter “Just put the plates anywhere; we share everything.”

It is, to be sure, an advanced technique, which requires a fairly intimate knowledge of your partner, and a certain generosity of spirit. Each couple will have to work out their own exact strategy, but this is roughly how it goes at the McSuderman table.

A moment is taken to read over the menu individually, with an eye to both your preferences, and the known preferences of your partner. (If pork belly is on the menu, I do not have to ask Peter whether he wants to order it; he knows the same thing about me and mushrooms.) Each party composes a mental list of the things they want to try. Each party is allowed one “must have,” and may plead for a second on the grounds of extraordinary exigency, such as the presence of both pork cheeks and venison roulade on the same menu that contains the bouillabaisse their partner has been dying to try. The list may be as long as you like, as long as you understand that you may not get everything you suggest.

Once the lists are composed, one party opens by stating their interests; the other party strikes anything they absolutely don’t want, and adds in any item that was on their list, but not their partner’s.