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I came across the following phrase, which I am unfamiliar with:

I had to help her fix her plate

It appears to be most common in the southern US. Is it correct to say that the phrase means to prepare a plate (of food) for someone? What kind of cultural connotations does "fixing a plate for someone" carry? I have read examples where offense was taken when someone "fixed a plate" for another's significant other.

Edit: Since quite a few readers are confused about the usage/context of this phrase (as was I, which is why I asked), I originally read it in the context of (presumably) dinnertime. I wanted to know what socio-cultural connotations the phrase may hold when used in such an environment. The answer I selected below had successfully and completely answered all of the above.

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    Absent context it's impossible to say. – Hot Licks Jun 24 '18 at 1:12
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If I were at a social event where food was served on a buffet I might fix a plate for a child, an elderly person, a distracted parent, or even just someone I wanted to be nice to.

As you suggested, it's the activity of serving portions of food onto a plate, often combined with fetching cutlery, napkin, etc.

I might also fix a plate for a family member who was coming home later, and store it in the refrigerator, so that when they arrived they would be have a meal waiting for them with portions of all the foods served at the table.

I'm used to family meals where serving dishes are brought to the dinner table; in other families food is served restaurant-style, where portions are dished out in the kitchen and a filled plate is brought out for each person. In that situation it would be completely natural for the person in charge of the meal to say "let me fix you a plate" if, say, someone unexpected arrives.

Depending on context it can be a less pleasant activity. Imagine an abusive spouse fixing a plate that includes only small portions of unliked foods, or a solicitous friend fixing and presenting a plate as part of a series of overly-familiar romantic inducements.

For the most part, though, it can be taken at face value as a small service to help someone at mealtime.

The phrase does have a small bit of Southern or rural US flavor to it, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear it in any informal setting.

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"Fixing a plate for someone is an act of sharing, an act of love and care that says “I want you to be fed.” SouthernFoodWays

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