As we talked, and enjoyed each other’s company, in the open, crowded dining room of Andina, she and I each picked away at our fried yucca: tasty, a starchy potato-like plant fried and served with a mint salsa, in lieu of bread, as part of the restaurants’ gluten-free menu.

The two ladies at the table next to us had asked what they were, and Lindsey had explained. She was on a gluten-free diet, and I had ordered from the same menu so that we could share if we wanted to.

The yucca was delicious, but filling, and as our main course continued to not arrive, our towers of yucca sticks, stacked Jenga-like on our plates, grew shorter and shorter, until I said, “I should stop filling up on these.”

Lindsey pushed her plate away – and towards me. “I know, I need to stop eating them and save room for dinner.”

My plate had fewer total yucca sticks on it, but then I was running a 5K the next morning, so I rationalized it as gluten-free carbo-loading. Still, I didn’t need that many carbs.

“I wonder if those ladies would like to try them?” she had suggested, and I agreed. We piled all the remaining sticks onto one plate, and she called out, “Excuse me?”

The women looked startled at this protocol-breaching event, but quickly warmed up when it was clear Lindsey was offering food.

Sharing food with strangers made it feel even more like a communal dining experience.