So I was having this conversation with my friend about when during a meal should salad be served. I said obviously first, he countered with in many countries salad is served towards the end of the meal. I find that hard to believe, but he insisted. He's traveled a lot more than me, so I don't know- but I...
Customs vary from country to country and also depending on the degree of formality of the meal. In Britain, France and Italy the salad course of a very formal meal comes after the main course, to clean the palate before the cheese and dessert. If the meal is a bit less formal it can be a side dish to the main course. Of course in informal meals you can have salad as a starter or a main course.
(If you do get to do any foreign travelling, here's a tip: do *not* try to tell the locals that their dining customs are poor etiquette.)
In traditional formal meals, salad does not come first. That practice has come about so restaurants can give people something to eat while the main dish, which is usually something that needs to be cooked, is being prepared.
There is no 'salad eating etiquette'.
i dont think it matters when they serve it, it never mattered to me
Your friend is correct. In many cultures the salad is not the first or second course.
your friend is correct--and actually last is probably better for your digestion--all that fiber hitting your stomach first thing on an empty stomach is not to good for you!
Traditionally, salad was served last.
This is a matter of custom, not of etiquette. In the USA it is customary to have salad early in the meal. Outside the USA, the custom varies.
Some people eat the salad first, others do serve it later, after the main course.
As with other customs, it varies from country-to-country.
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You should do what you feel comfortable with. There are no roving groups of "salad police" who will break down your door if you serve it at a certain time.
When In Rome, Do As The Romans Do
There are few, if any, etiquette rules that apply everywhere in the world. You happen to live somewhere where it's correct to serve salad first. There are other places where it's not.
Sometimes, a salad IS the meal.
Okay. In many places salad is served at the end of the meal, as your friend pointed out. And?
In most Western countries the salad is considered an appetizer. I do agree with your friend that in some countries salad is either considered an entree or an after entree. It depends on the culture of the country.
Why do you care about far and weird customs? Britain has the goods on etiquette.
It doesn't matter what you think. It matters what country you're in. Italians and French have their salad last.