How do I eat crusty bread?
November 26, 2006 10:42 AM   Subscribe

How do I eat crusty bread or other crumbly items like crackers without getting a big crumbly mess all over the table?

Also, is it correct that one ought to tear bite-size pieces of bread off a roll rather than biting off a chunk?
posted by grouse to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Lightly dip them in water/wine/milk.

Yes.
posted by matteo at 10:50 AM on November 26, 2006


Chew with your mouth closed.

No.
posted by the cuban at 10:56 AM on November 26, 2006


Eat them / tear pieces off over a plate.

Yes.
posted by tastybrains at 11:01 AM on November 26, 2006


In France they have these things call waiters that brush the crumbs off the table cloth inbetween courses.

yes
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 11:01 AM on November 26, 2006


Fine restaurants in the US also clean crumbs off the table between courses.

Yes.
posted by rxrfrx at 11:22 AM on November 26, 2006


Uh, this is what plates are for.

Depends.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 11:22 AM on November 26, 2006


If you live alone, you can eat over the sink.
(That's not a snark; I ate over the sink for years.)
posted by unrepentanthippie at 11:29 AM on November 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the snark, the cuban. The crumbliness happens when I am tearing the bread apart, not when I put it in my mouth.

I know waiters in some fine restaurants will brush the crumbs off the table between courses. But some dining establishments do not do this, and I'd rather make as small a mess as possible.

Uh, this is what plates are for.

Hmmm, maybe I should do my tearing closer to the plate.

EndsOfInvention: What does it depend on?
posted by grouse at 11:37 AM on November 26, 2006


I should also mention that this isn't really a problem with a normal-sized plate, but it is when I have a tiny little bread plate.
posted by grouse at 11:42 AM on November 26, 2006


I might be tempted to point out that crumbs on a table are to be expected when eating crumbly foods, or that your question perhaps signals that all the legitimate questions have already been asked and that we have now reached a new low, but I won’t since you asked how to eat these foods and still have a crumb-free table. You can’t, unless you engage in the impolite behaviors of either dipping your food in liquids, stuffing them whole into your mouth, or bringing along your pet rodent, skippy, to patrol the table for morsels.

I’ll vote yes, unless you are in a culture where it is impolite to touch your food with both hands.
posted by found missing at 11:43 AM on November 26, 2006


Here is a video of how to eat bread at a formal dinner table. Here is another version in text.
posted by plokent at 11:52 AM on November 26, 2006 [3 favorites]



I should also mention that this isn't really a problem with a normal-sized plate


Then stop using wee plates.
posted by the cuban at 11:53 AM on November 26, 2006


EndsOfInvention: What does it depend on?

On reflection I'm going to agree totally with found missing's hilarious comment.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 11:53 AM on November 26, 2006


Bread: Gently tear off a piece over a plate -- then lightly tap the broken-off piece on the plate. (Tearing results in fewer flying particles than breaking.) No plate? Use a napkin. No plate, and your only napkin is in your lap? Break the bread over the bread basket, or reserve a spot on the tablecloth for crumbs.

Crackers: same approaches as above. And if you're having cheese and crackers, gently break off a bite-sized piece of the cracker before adding cheese. If the host has already placed a slice of cheese on a cracker that's too big to eat whole, you might have to live with flying crumbs.

At my high school, we had a mid-morning saltines-and-milk snack every day; thus my great expertise. Look for my book, "Something Wicked This Way: Crumbs."
posted by wryly at 11:57 AM on November 26, 2006 [3 favorites]


Usually a loaf of bread will come in a basket. It is best to tear off your slice of bread over the basket or take the dinner roll and place it on your dish. Do not cut bread with your knife, it should be broken or torn. If the butter is in a communal dish, place enough to lightly butter your roll and put it on your plate. Please do not reach for anything across someone. Please do not butter your roll directly from the communal dish. Tear the bread over your dish to the size of about two bites, then butter.

Personally, when I am out with employees or clients I can tell how the rest of their manner's will be depending on how they treat their bread. Proper etiquette can foreshadow things to come. I do not worry so much about the etiquette of crumbs as I do other manners.

Another rule with bread: Do not take it and rub it in your sauce. I like to reserve that one for family and friends.
posted by thetenthstory at 12:11 PM on November 26, 2006


Thank you for this post as someone took my breadplate last evening and I felt compelled to do the same.
posted by furtive at 12:30 PM on November 26, 2006


For crackers, take your bite and then discretely put your tongue against the bitten edge before you remove the rest of the cracker from your mouth. Your tongue will catch most of the crumbs that would fall off otherwise.

This is particularly handy in a cocktail situation where you've got a plate in one hand and no other way to pre-break the cracker.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:36 PM on November 26, 2006


Lyn Never, that's an advanced technique. I salue you.
posted by wryly at 4:26 PM on November 26, 2006


And also salute.
posted by wryly at 4:27 PM on November 26, 2006


Another rule with bread: Do not take it and rub it in your sauce. I like to reserve that one for family and friends.

Please ignore the advice from someone who so obviously doesn't like food.

There is not a correct way to eat bread.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:47 PM on November 26, 2006 [1 favorite]


Another rule with bread: Do not take it and rub it in your sauce. I like to reserve that one for family and friends.

I was at lunch with a client once, and when she was done eating, she took a piece of bread and sopped up her entire plate and then ate the bread.

And then she lifted her plate and LICKED IT CLEAN. This is a true story.
posted by peep at 8:49 PM on November 26, 2006


When you are finished dining and the waiter has collected the dishes from the table but neglects (or gets sidetracked getting your coffee order) to brush the crumbs from the now plateless table. It is permissible to flip over the corner of the top layer tablecloth (triangle piece pointing to your lap) to give your self a crumbless place to rest your hands.

I am assuming the restaurent has double tablecloths.
posted by JujuB at 9:37 PM on November 27, 2006


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