Wiping the plate

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alb
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2004/07/31 21:34:16 (permalink)

Wiping the plate

While growing up, it was considered perfectly acceptable etiquette to wipe excess gravy or meat juice off the plate with a piece of buttered bread. In fact, many times extra gravy was poured on the plate just for this. I did it, all my friends and family did it. Then one day in my 20's I was eating at the same table as an older woman with a degree in home economics. She looked at me very oddly and asked if I had been raised toi do that. I replied that yes, I had, and calmly finished the last few drops. But now I wonder, how many of you wipe the gravy off your plate? Is it a regional habit? Is it, in fact, polite behavior?
#1

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    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/07/31 21:44:20 (permalink)
    Lots of people do it, including me, when I'm eating alone at home. It is not proper, anymore than the enjoyable slurping of soup.
    #2
    rmcielwain
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/07/31 21:51:40 (permalink)

    If I go to a buffet or we have pot luck at church, I'll definitely
    try to clean my plate - I try not to let anything go to waste
    (sometimes the only thing I can't get rid of are what's left of
    pieces of chicken). Today when I went to the local Chinese buffet,
    people who had left still had food on their plates. I couldn't
    clean up the sauce (from the kung pao chicken and other dishes)
    because there was too much. I don't know if it's regional or not.
    #3
    RibDog
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/07/31 22:26:16 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by rmcielwain


    If I go to a buffet or we have pot luck at church, I'll definitely
    try to clean my plate - I try not to let anything go to waste
    (sometimes the only thing I can't get rid of are what's left of
    pieces of chicken). Today when I went to the local Chinese buffet,
    people who had left still had food on their plates. I couldn't
    clean up the sauce (from the kung pao chicken and other dishes)
    because there was too much. I don't know if it's regional or not.



    I was taught that in a Chinese restaurant that it was an insult to leave a clean plate. Don't remember where I learned that though.

    John
    #4
    RibDog
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/07/31 22:28:33 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by alb

    While growing up, it was considered perfectly acceptable etiquette to wipe excess gravy or meat juice off the plate with a piece of buttered bread. In fact, many times extra gravy was poured on the plate just for this. I did it, all my friends and family did it. Then one day in my 20's I was eating at the same table as an older woman with a degree in home economics. She looked at me very oddly and asked if I had been raised toi do that. I replied that yes, I had, and calmly finished the last few drops. But now I wonder, how many of you wipe the gravy off your plate? Is it a regional habit? Is it, in fact, polite behavior?


    I remember when I was growing up that if we had extra gravy on the table, I would put a piece of bread on my plate and put gravy on it. Boy does that bring back memories. We also use to fight sop up the juices on the meat platter. This is perfectly acceptable in my house to this day.

    John
    #5
    TIPPY LEE
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/07/31 23:57:44 (permalink)
    Eggs, gravies, meats,veggies, etc.,...as far as I'm concerned is all fair game to be properly sopped up by breads,rolls, or cornbread!! ..Tom B. in Eastern Kentucky.
    #6
    BT
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/01 00:40:12 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Michael Hoffman

    Lots of people do it, including me, when I'm eating alone at home. It is not proper, anymore than the enjoyable slurping of soup.


    Know what? I'm gonna disagree on that. "Slurping" soup might reasonably annoy other diners. Judicious wiping up of a good gravy, sauce or, in my case, salad dressing (I love the combo of bread and any kind of salad dressing) shouldn't bother anyone. In fact, in better Italian restaurants, a small bowl of artisanal virgin olive oil is provided with bread for dipping (a variant of "wiping").

    Personally, I consider this such an important part of my enjoyment of a good meal that I really don't give a d_mn if it is bad manners. In fact, I think the notion of it being bad manners is one of those residua of WASPy days gone by that should be forgotten these days because, frankly, it's part of a normal meal in too many cultures other than certain northern European ones (in some, so is slurping soup!).

    I figure if I'm paying what I have to pay to eat out these days, I have a right to enjoy my meal in my own way as long as I'm not disturbing other diners and I see no way that "wiping" gravy does that. The only time I might make an exception is a "business" meal or some other situation where I am eating with people I don't really know and might have need to impress, and where enjoying the food is almost not the real point of the meal, but if I'm eating out with friends and they object, I'll simply find other "friends" to eat with in future.
    #7
    BT
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/01 00:46:03 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by rmcielwain


    Today when I went to the local Chinese buffet,
    people who had left still had food on their plates. I couldn't
    clean up the sauce (from the kung pao chicken and other dishes)
    because there was too much. I don't know if it's regional or not.



    I would NEVER let good kung pao (or any other Chinese) sauce go to waste. I just about always add a little rice to it to sop it up and eat it. I've been known to ask for more rice just for this purpose if I have to--never been turned down either.
    #8
    6star
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/01 01:15:32 (permalink)
    For those of us who grew up shortly after the Depression or during World War II (when there was food rationing), cleaning your plate was a requirement set down by our parents. ("Don't leave anything on your plate when there are children starving in Europe, etc.") At that time it was even patriotic to whipe up every smidgen with a slice of bread. But now with super-size servings being offered, an overweight population (especially overweight kids) and many people flaunting an excess of money (certainly not me), it is seemingly becoming more popular not to finish everything on your plate. It is somewhat sad, since there are children still starving in Europe, and in Africa, and even in the United States!
    #9
    meowzart
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/01 08:41:39 (permalink)
    Somebody once told me that in Italy, wiping your plate clean with bread is a complement to the chef.
    #10
    rmcielwain
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/01 09:19:28 (permalink)

    I know, but I'm not into rice, despite growing up in a Filipino
    household (maybe a little fried rice) - I took more after my dad,
    hence why I love raw onions on my hot dogs, but that's another story.
    And I have to agree with 6star's reasoning - I try and finish what
    I have (and keep everything in moderation).
    Meowzart, great pictures on the Cheesesteak Tour: too bad the only
    thing we have that resembles a cheesesteak here is (do I dare say it?)
    ....subway [|)]
    #11
    Jellybeans
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/01 16:09:33 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by RibDog

    quote:
    Originally posted by rmcielwain


    If I go to a buffet or we have pot luck at church, I'll definitely
    try to clean my plate - I try not to let anything go to waste
    (sometimes the only thing I can't get rid of are what's left of
    pieces of chicken). Today when I went to the local Chinese buffet,
    people who had left still had food on their plates. I couldn't
    clean up the sauce (from the kung pao chicken and other dishes)
    because there was too much. I don't know if it's regional or not.



    I was taught that in a Chinese restaurant that it was an insult to leave a clean plate. Don't remember where I learned that though.

    John


    Really? Hmm... I'm Chinese and I was thought that it is an insult to leave a dirty plate. Every single morsel of food had to be eaten, down to the last grain of rice. Otherwise:

    1. It's a waste of good food.
    2. It means you didn't like your host/cook/chef's cooking
    #12
    Jennifer_4
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/01 16:25:05 (permalink)
    I too was raised to sop with bread, biscuits, etc.. that's what they were there for! We especially love to do it with Italian red sauce.. sometimes I'll just make a dish of sauce and bread! And I do it in restaurants, just a little less messily than at home. At least I use bread.. at home my hubby just licks the plate..[|)]
    #13
    hoosiergoob
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/01 17:43:14 (permalink)
    I'm 42 and I grew up in Indiana. These days I love to cook. There is no higer praise than than seconds helpings and clean plates. I have fond memories of my grandfather who ended every meal by covering a plain slice of bread with gravy. If there was any gravy left, he got another slice of bread. Not only is cleaning up sauces acceptable in my house but also using bread to push other foods onto your fork if needed.

    Many middle-eastern and north african cultures use bread as their only utensil. And a majority of their dises are sauced or stewed.
    #14
    howard8
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/02 10:47:53 (permalink)
    I enjoy using bread to continue the meal just a little longer. When there is gravy or sauce left over, bread used to soak and sop is ideal. When there is no bread left, my finger does almost as good a job!
    #15
    Spudnut
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/02 11:14:47 (permalink)
    For what it's worth, I found similar entries on several etiquette websites...

    GRAVY
    If you wish to soak up the extra gravy (and it's a compliment to the cook to do so), put a small piece of bread into the sauce and retrieve it with your fork — tines down, and one small piece of bread at a time. Common sense alert: never wipe up gravy with a piece of bread in your hand.

    Not that I really gave it thought before this, but my personal habit is to soak up gravy with bread in my hand in my own home or a very casual dining environment. At a more upscale place, I don't do it.
    #16
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/02 11:27:25 (permalink)
    Ah, well, anyone here like their coffee saucered and blowed?
    #17
    cleveland66
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/02 11:37:54 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Michael Hoffman

    Ah, well, anyone here like their coffee saucered and blowed?


    We use that term at work, in reference to a completed project. Anyhow, my mother saucers her coffee so as to remove any un-disolved sugar from her cup. After that she pours the coffee back in her cup, and goes about her business.
    #18
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/02 11:44:23 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by cleveland66

    quote:
    Originally posted by Michael Hoffman

    Ah, well, anyone here like their coffee saucered and blowed?


    We use that term at work, in reference to a completed project. Anyhow, my mother saucers her coffee so as to remove any un-disolved sugar from her cup. After that she pours the coffee back in her cup, and goes about her business.


    I take it then, she doesn't blow on it.

    As I recall, it used to be OK to saucer and blow your coffee, but you weren't supposed to fan it with your hat.
    #19
    garykg6
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/02 11:51:20 (permalink)
    I usually sop up excess gravy with a pork chop or a cuban sandwich,if it's my dough that buy's the food, I'll sop with anything available(with the possible exception of edible undies.)
    #20
    Hode
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/02 13:00:02 (permalink)
    we had the CPC award at my house / Clean Plate Club. sopping / wiping whatever you want to call it was A-OK
    #21
    rumbelly
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/03 09:26:47 (permalink)
    I have always thought that (from a cook/chef point of view) that what comes back on the plate is as important as what goes out on it. The method to which one arrives at creating a clean plate is of no consequence to me. It is a compliment when the plate looks as though it can be just returned to the shelf with the clean ones.
    #22
    Tony Bad
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/03 09:35:41 (permalink)
    quote:
    It is a compliment when the plate looks as though it can be just returned to the shelf with the clean ones.


    My sister in law used to tell her kids that when they cleaned their plate she didn't have to wash it.

    One day, much to her horror, she caught two of her kids licking their plates clean and then putting them back in the cupboard with the clean ones. " />

    There was some "splainin" to do after that!
    #23
    redtressed
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/03 12:33:08 (permalink)
    I'm a sopper, she's a sopper, he's a sopper, wouldn't you like to be a sopper too.....
    #24
    santacruz
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/11 13:29:34 (permalink)
    In eating bouillabasse and beef burgundy there is no better taste than a fresh baquette sopping up the sauce and gravy. When eating Mexican I always use a tortilla to sop up the different sauces. In upscale Italian places usually you will be served very good bread with Olive Oil and Balsamic, you are expected to sop.

    But I have a question about the Dunking of Doughnuts into the Coffee Cup.

    Is this an acceptable method of eating a doughnut? For me only a plain will work this way.
    #25
    Lucky Bishop
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/11 14:15:16 (permalink)
    If you can do it with biscotti, I don't see why you can't do it with a doughnut. Although personally, I never liked to do it myself.

    Most etiquette mavens currently have no restrictions on soppage. I'll check my wife's Judith Martin to make sure, if anyone cares that deeply.

    At home (and only at home), certain soups I make are to be eaten by crushing about half a sleeve of saltine crackers directly into the bowl, turning the whole thing into a salty mush the approximate texture of papier-mache. I'm quite certain Judith Martin would not agree with this. Therefore, I've made a mental note never to do it in front of her.
    #26
    Theedge
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/11 14:53:45 (permalink)
    When I was a kid mom would set a platter of sirloin steaks in the middle of the table. As I recall the steaks weren't that great, but dipping a piece of bread in the steak juice left in the platter sure was delicious. I find myself to this day mopping up the platter with a good piece of cheese bread, only now the steaks are good too!

    I'm sure all of that extra "mopping" is where my 30 extra pounds come from.
    #27
    Jennifer_4
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/11 15:07:35 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Lucky Bishop


    At home (and only at home), certain soups I make are to be eaten by crushing about half a sleeve of saltine crackers directly into the bowl, turning the whole thing into a salty mush the approximate texture of papier-mache. I'm quite certain Judith Martin would not agree with this. Therefore, I've made a mental note never to do it in front of her.


    When I was growing up, this was the ONLY way to eat chili, crushing Ritz crackers into it before eating, now I crumble cornbread into it.
    #28
    berndog
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/11 15:26:32 (permalink)
    I have often wiped up the delicious juice or gravy from my plate, much to the consternation of our dog, who sits there looking at me like "Hey, that's my job, err, I mean treat."
    #29
    hatteras04
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    RE: Wiping the plate 2004/08/11 15:52:29 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Lucky Bishop


    At home (and only at home), certain soups I make are to be eaten by crushing about half a sleeve of saltine crackers directly into the bowl, turning the whole thing into a salty mush the approximate texture of papier-mache. I'm quite certain Judith Martin would not agree with this. Therefore, I've made a mental note never to do it in front of her.


    My friend made it through college by eating what he called Gally Stew. It consisted of one can of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup, One entire sleeve of Saltines, and a healthy dose of Soy Sauce. He now realizes that excessive salt isn't good for you so he leaves out the soy sauce.
    #30
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