What do you say?
I'll confess that I'm a mopper 99% of the time. It just seems a sin to waste all that delicious gravy, that last bit of runny egg. The other 1% is the very rare occasion when I'm dining under such formal and high-pressure circumstances that I can hardly lift my fork to my mouth out of fear and anxiety. Make that .5%, because that's a very, very rare occasion.
Mostly I see mopping up as a compliment to the cook. If I can't stand to leave even one drop of food on my plate, then whatever I'm eating is probably really good. And I definitely feel an extra twinkle of happiness and pride when I spy people doing this with my food. So far, no one has given me any grief but I occasionally wonder if I'm being a lout and no one is saying anything.
I think a lot has to do with how you mop up. Technique is very important. Me, I go the French route and tear smallish chunks of bread from my larger slice and mop up with little, single bites. I guess this just feels a little more civilized and decorous to me.
So I say mop away with abandon! Grab that last lick of delicious sauce! Enjoy your food! Just be sure to leave your elbows off the table.
(Image: Dana Velden)