I understand that it is from Islamic etiquette to eat what is closest to us on a plate. Does this only apply to when one is eating from a platter with others or does it also apply when eating alone?
the Fatwa Department Research Committee - chaired by Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî
If you are eating from your own personal plate, then the ruling of eating only from what is in front of you is not relevant. In fact, all of the food is in front of you and it is all yours.
`Umar b Abî Salamah relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had told him: “Child, invoke Allah’s name, eat with your right hand, and eat from what is in front of you.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (5376) and Sahîh Muslim (2022)]
This ruling about eating what is nearest to you refers to communal eating. It instructs us that it is ill-mannered to extend our arms to other parts of the communal platter. This instruction, understandably, was given to a child, since children are more likely to behave in such a reckless and inconsiderate way.
This advice does not mean that when we are eating from our own personal plates, we have to start from the nearest corner and work our way across. That would be a serious misunderstanding of the Prophet's advice.
You may eat from your own plate as you find convenient.
And Allah knows best.
Source: Islam Today
-- Al Arabiya Digital