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Feb 28, 2011 01:53 PM

Mussels - What Is The Proper Eating Etiquette?

After reading the thread about double-dipping, it reminded me of how I get a bit flumoxed when I eat mussels (which I am new to-relatively speaking), which is usually with my DH who is equally as clueless.
I use the little fork, if given, and discard the shells into another bowl. So far, I'm good, but I've got a few questions for you CH'ers.
Do you eat them out of the serving bowl one at a time or do you transfer a couple to an app. plate? I've only been given plates, not little bowls, for sharing.
How do you avoid losing all the lovely liquor and sauce if you do transfer? (this one is really important!)
Does the mussel bowl become a communal (not double) dipping bowl with for the (hopefully) good bread?
Does anyone use the mussel shell as a utensil for eating?

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  1. I eat them out of the serving bowl, and sometimes use a shell as a spoon to drink the broth. And yes, the mussel bowl is communal. Don't have a problem with double-dipping if it's family, figure we all have the same germs. <g> But wouldn't dd if sharing with friends.

    4 Replies
    1. re: pasuga

      I wonder is it OK to dip a spoon and drink the broth as you eat? I have done this with family, but don't know if it's proper otherwise. Sometimes the broth is just too good!

      1. re: pasuga

        Is it rude or improper to remove all the mussels from the shells all at once? That way you have a delicious soup that is easy to eat an one can enjoy the broth with each spionful.

        1. If being shared, I always transfer to a small bowl. I do not like to eat one at a time, so usually, I will remove the mussels from the shells and place the discards in another communal bowl or butter dish is something is not provided. I'll spoon more broth or sauce into the bowl and forge ahead. If all the mussels have been taken from the serving bowl, I will dip directly into the bowl with the bread......but I will tear the bread first into bite size pieces.....with family, I would not hesitate to double dip.

          Does anyone use the mussel shell as a utensil for eating?

          My nephew does this, He takes a mussel, removes the top half of the shell and uses the sharp edge to slice the *muscle* from the lower half......a neat little trick.

          7 Replies
          1. re: fourunder

            I was a little apprehensive about this at firs,t but I use a whole mussel that has both halves still attached as a "pincher" to pull the meat out of the other mussels. Not sure if Emily Post would approve but it definitely works!

            1. re: Susan627

              I've gotten shell shards all over from using the shell in either way mentioned above, so now I stick to the little fork.

              1. re: Susan627

                I was told several times in Belgium that this is the correct way to eat mussels. I actually prefer to use a little fork, but I think your way is fine, too.

                1. re: Glencora

                  Indeed, using the shells as pincers is the correct way, at least as my dd was instructed at the age of 3, in Brussels. She is a mussels lover and orders them every chance that they are fresh. We were living in Europe when she started this love affair with this food, and first tried them in a mussels restaurant in Brussels. There was a fine gentleman at this restaurant (perhaps the owner, probably the manager) that had a blast teaching her how to eat them and watching her enjoy them. If there is actually enough to share (rare for us... we usually order our own), the broth is communal and there is no need to transfer to a plate or bowl, as with each bite you want a little of the broth and I like them piping hot. No worry about double-dipping if you are doing it properly.

                  1. re: gardencook

                    All the Belgian rrestaurants I've eaten in, in Flanders, have presented mussels in a serving bowl , with serving spoon (even if only one diner is eating them). You also get your own bowl to eat them from, together with fork and spoon.

              2. re: fourunder

                I never share mussels with anyone... solves the problem... use bread to soak up broth!

                1. re: betsydiver

                  That's my mom-in-law's strategy! She does use the little fork, plows through a mighty bowl full of mussels like Sherman through Georgia, and ends up with a big pile of shells and a dry bowl. And if anyone else wants a mussel he can order his own. That also makes her a pretty cheap date since the moules are typically an appetizer and she makes them her meal.

              3. If you are served one for your personal use, ask the server for a bowl. There you can place some mussels to eat, retain the wonderful broth and have only your dip into all gone goodness. And shoudl there be any juice left in the communal bowl, being fast will allow you to scoop some into your own bowl.

                I am lucky in that, most folks I dine with really don't "do" mussels, so that whole bowl is mine!
                Yes, I use a half shell to scoop,

                1. 1. Ask for your own bowl.
                  2. Ladle or spoon a couple or several mussels into own bowl, then pour some soup into own bowl.
                  3. Dip bread into soup in your own bowl.
                  4. I use the shell to scoop tidbits of food, e.g., rice.

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: nooyawka

                      will have to start asking for a bowl. It makes perfect sense, but I always get a plate which makes me scratch my head.

                    2. I've never really been to a place where there is a "communal" bowl, usually each gets its own bowl of mussels.


                      I eat them from the shell, and if some of them are loose, then they stay in the broth and I get to them at the end when I slurp all the juice from the bowl (no spoon needed!!! )

                      all is needed is a large amount of bread and butter!! and a good glass of Muscadet (or light beer)