Mop it Up! The Etiquette of Cleaning Your Plate with Bread

A quick, informal poll of friends and family has revealed that mopping up the last yummy bits on your plate with a piece of bread is ... controversial. Some approve, some don't. Some approve only in the most casual of circumstances and others would only do this if dining alone. With the blinds pulled. And the lights off.

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.

Related: Proper Etiquette: Would You Serve Leftovers to Guests?

(Image: Dana Velden)

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