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Is ok to dunk?

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Let's say you are at a nice restaurant (whatever "nice" may mean to you), is it ok to dunk the bread into your soup?

Let's say you get plated a nice bowl of tomato bisque and it's paired with some crostini. Ok to dunk the crostini into the soup before taking a bite of the crostini?

Or must one take a spoonful of soup and then a bite of undunked crostini (or vice versa, whatever tickles your fancy)?

  1. I dunk. They are served together, why not eat them together?

    1. Depends on the restaurant and my companions. If I'm at a fancy, conservative restaurant for business, then no dunking. If I'm with friends and family and it's a less stuffy place, sure. One of my favorites at Alan Wong's in Hawaii is the soup and sandwich (perfect tomato soup with an awesome kalua pig grilled cheese sandwich) - you bet I dunk that sandwich!

      1. I do bite-size pieces. Nothing like dunking into clam or mussel sauce. What I have problems resisting is picking up the bowl and downing the remaining liquid (not really).

        1. as long as you don't stick the scalding soup-laden crostini in the eye of someone at the next table, you're ok

          1 Reply
          1. re: thew

            That image has had me chuckling for a few minutes now. Thanks!

          2. I would eat it however I want to regardless of what Miss Manners or anyone else thinks about it. I am paying them to enjoy my meal and if that involves dunking, then so be it.

            1. I always learned that dunking or sopping with bread is much more polite than scraping bowl or plate. I inferred that it is polite to dunk or sop up with bread.

              Think of it this way. Why on Earth would anyone be bothered by it? If the answer to that question boils down to personal preference, or something they read in a magazine, you're good.

              1. One of my favorite dunks is to sop up the juices from my medium rare steak with good bread.

                1. Hi all,

                  Definitely dunk and hope they brought enough bread to last through the soup...

                  I DO try not to drip on myself.

                  Edited to add: Dunking bite-size pieces just isn't the same. :)

                  Lucy

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: I used to know how to cook...

                    How else will I politely get soup on my fingers so I can lick them?;-)

                    1. re: chowser

                      Hi Chowser,

                      Hold the spoon verrrrry close to the business end and surreptitiously dip your fingers in. (Perhaps just the tips if you're in a really fancy-schmancy joint.) Glance around furtively beforehand to be sure no one is watching. : )

                      Edited to add: Ohmigosh Chowser, I made the erroneous assumption that you were impaling your bite-size chunks on a fork before dipping! I'm so sorry. I didn't understand that you were using your FINGERS to dunk! I most abjectly apologize. It won't happen again! : )

                      Lucy

                      1. re: I used to know how to cook...

                        LOL that might only possibly work on the fork if I were cutting my bread w/ knife and fork. I do good size chunks, dip most of it in, except the part I'm holding and then pop the whole thing in my mouth.

                        1. re: chowser

                          What happens when/if you run out of bread?

                          Lucy

                          1. re: I used to know how to cook...

                            That's when I want to pick up the bowl and drink it. Usually, if I need more, I ask for it. I've never been refused (not that it happens often).

                  2. Slightly off-topic and not meaning to derail your thread, ipsedixit, but I'm always tempted to order the pasta and sauce and ask them to hold the pasta and bring me extra bread.

                    Lucy

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: I used to know how to cook...

                      I'll have a quart to go and two loaves of bread please!!!!

                      Monday night, I took my 14 year old to dinner at Franco Gianni's a neighborhood Italian restaurant that share space with Luigi's bakery (owned by same family.
                      Daughter ordered ziti with their red mushroom sauce, sauce on the side. She ate about haldf the ziti, but dunked about 2 loaves of bread in the bowl of sauce. Took home a 12 oz coffee cup of leftover sauce, Used that for dunking on Tuesday.

                      I, OTOH had linguini in red clam sauce and when the pasta was gone wiped the bowl of sauce and chopped clam bits with the heels of the bread.

                      1. re: bagelman01

                        Hi Bagelman01,

                        Now that's my kind of dinner! Yum!

                        Lucy

                      2. re: I used to know how to cook...

                        If it's Ragu Coniglio, then I'm all with you on that one.

                        1. re: I used to know how to cook...

                          or have them serve it over bread instead of pasta, so some starts soaking up right away... and bring some bread on the side?

                          1. re: Emme

                            Lidia Bastianich made a lasagna with country bread instead of pasta--I had to give that a try and it was great.

                            1. re: Emme

                              nothing like a sauce sandwich

                              1. re: bagelman01

                                That's kind of what a sloppy joe is, right?

                                1. re: chowser

                                  depends how much ground meat is in your sloppy joe.......................

                                  Here, the sauce is the star

                          2. I personally don't mind if other people do it - but my husband HATES it when I do it at nice restaurants so now I always tear off a bite-sized piece of bread, drop it in, and sop up whatever sauce/liquid with a fork.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: uwsister

                              This is how I do, too. But sometimes, if the soup or sauce is so good, I'll place the whole slice of bread in there and eat it sopas de pão style. Totally not WASPY American manners.

                              1. re: scarmoza

                                Yeah, my husband is a bit of a stickler when it comes to table manners. He has me trained pretty well - though I will cheat when he's not around. Ha.

                                Since it was mentioned below - biscotti of course you dunk. It would be silly not to. I can't think of too many other bread products that hard that you couldn't eat it with a fork though.

                                1. re: uwsister

                                  Are we actually discussing eating soup with a fork?

                              2. re: uwsister

                                That's we did at the French Laundry with the sunchoke soup. Our server gave us a sly smile when we asked for additional pretzel bread ...

                                1. re: uwsister

                                  if it's a very nice restaurant (you all know the difference) then i"ll tear small pieces and drop it in discretely. At home, no rules for anyone - be my guest and do what makes you feel comfortable. It's only recently that I became a dunker, I don't know why. Probably just that my taste changed again. I still have a hard time with people that dunk toast in coffee, that just seems wrong. Crumbs in the coffee, and soggy coffee flavored bread...

                                2. Yes is ok to dunk, in any restaurant.

                                  I shows you love food!

                                  1. Absolutely. If anyone's offended, you're with the wrong people.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: beevod

                                      Amen!

                                      So long as you're not actually being rude by making a huge mess or something, then enjoy it how you like. I don't think it's bad manners at all to dunk.

                                    2. I am a dunker even in finer restaurants. I do it sedately. Who am I trying to impress?
                                      Way back in the day I remember having breakfast in cafe in France. I ordered 2 croissants and a cafe au lait. The croissants were excellent and I couldn't keep from dunkin them.
                                      A silence came over the cafe as every local stared at me muttering in French.
                                      I didn't let it bother me and I've never been back to France.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Motosport

                                        My guess it was something else that upset them about you as dipping a croissant or a tartine into a café au lait isn't really something that out of the ordinary. And a café? OK, not home, but not a place where people stand on ceremony or get that bent out of shape about what others are doing.

                                          1. re: Lizard

                                            Yes, i agree with Lizard - it's really commonplace in France to dip your morning bread/pastry into your cafe au lait so I can't imagine they would go silent on you for that.

                                        1. In the words of the sage of Louisiana, Justin Wilson: "Jus' remember, it ain't no sin to dunk. An' if it is, who give a dam' anyway?"

                                          1. The overwhelming response to this thread shows just how far we have gone from the days when table manners really mattered. Heck, with the proliferation of elbows all over the table and forks held like bass fiddles, I often wonder whether anybody is taught any table manners at home these days.

                                            The "proper" way to dunk is to use a fork, but I am certainly guilty from time to time of not using one. To me, it all depends on the type of environment and who you are with.

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: brentk

                                              The "proper" way to dunk is to use a fork, but I am certainly guilty from time to time of not using one. To me, it all depends on the type of environment and who you are with.

                                              _______________________________

                                              Really?

                                              How does one dunk a crusty crostini with a fork?

                                              I'd almost think just the perils and dexterity required to stab a crostini with a fork (think escargot scene in Pretty Woman) would be enough to make dunking with a fork an etiquette faux pas. No?

                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                You make a decent point.

                                                I didn't write the etiquette rules. I am just relaying them, but I doubt many folks in this country had ever heard of a crostini when Emily Post was alive. Certainly not in her social circle.

                                                Still, I think there are generally more opportunities to dunk a softer bread product that is easily manipulated with a knife and fork.

                                              2. re: brentk

                                                I'm old enough to remember when the ORIGINAL Dunkin Donut was not a circle, but had a bump out to hold when dunking in your coffee

                                                1. re: bagelman01

                                                  Back in the day my mom would take me with her when she went shopping. We'd have lunch at Nedick's. She was mortified when I dunked my hot dog in my Coca Cola.

                                                  1. re: Motosport

                                                    She was mortified when I dunked my hot dog in my Coca Cola.

                                                    __________________

                                                    I'm mortified to hear about it now ...

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                      I was only 6. After many years of therapy I got over my need to dunk everything.

                                                    2. re: Motosport

                                                      I can just imagine her thinking, "My son, the raccoon"! ;-D

                                                      Jasper White's signature Pan Roasted Lobster is a shell-on, cut-up bug swathed in an unforgettable, butter-laden pan sauce. I knew that even in the very informal Summer Shack, which has less ambience than a school cafeteria, I couldn't pick up and lick the shells, but I did swab them thoroughly with their (unfortunately run of the mill) bread, and I guarantee you that the bowl was clean as a whistle when we finished the meal.

                                                2. Only if you're one of those people who takes /bites/ of bread. *shudders*

                                                  In the case of tomato soup and crostini, I think it's perfectly fine to dunk. Or float it into your soup, and lift with your spoon. I don't think it tastes any differently.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: jaykayen

                                                    No self-respecting Italian would NOT dunk. We dunk bread in soup, mop the remains of the soup and sauce with bread, and dunk biscotti in wine (Vin Santo expressly for this purpose) and coffee. That's why biscotti are hard and shaped the way they are. Mopping and dunking is the best part of the meal sometimes. The only way I eat cookies is to dunk them in milk. I say DUNK!

                                                    1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                      Some Italians have different habits than others.

                                                      1. re: jaykayen

                                                        You're probably right although I've never known an Italian who didn't dunk. At any rate, I feel sorry for those that don't - it's something that comes from enjoying every drop of good food and is felt in the soul. Trust me.

                                                  2. No. It is low-class and common.

                                                    Or as one person put it "nobody wants to shake your dunking hand".

                                                    There is a reason for etiquette rules. If one must dunk, do it in the privacy of your own home ... when eating alone.

                                                    Take bites of bread WITH your soup and for manners sake, handle it correctly. Place your spoon on the plate, pick up your bread with the same hand you use for the soup sppon ... NEVER two-fist ... bread in one hand and soup spoon in the other.

                                                    As to tearing bits of bread into the soup, I would think not based on cracker etiquette.

                                                    Some excellent soup tips that I think people have forgotten in this link

                                                    http://www.soupsong.com/bametiqu.html

                                                    "Charlotte Ford, Guide to Modern Manners, 1988:

                                                    Oyster crackers or croutons, when served with the soup, are put in the soup whole. Drop oyster crackers in with your fingers, since they're dry. Use a spoon to drop croutons into your bowl, as they might be buttery.

                                                    Marjabelle Young Stewart, Commonsense, 1999:

                                                    How do we eat our soup? We skim our spoon delicately across its surface, as if we were sending a ship out to sea, then bring it to our lips and silently sip."

                                                    Ok, that last had nothing to do with your question ... I just liked it.

                                                    While you are talking soup ... which is even more of a faux pas ... this tea room will ask you to leave if you dunk your biscuits

                                                    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknew...

                                                    Sorry, this is personal. After living for a year in a third-world country where people do nothhing but dunk, I don't want to see anything dunked, dipped or eaten with fingers that isn't meant to be ... like fried fish ... for neptune's sake. It is gross.

                                                    Where does it stop, I ask you? First the soup ... then before you know it you have a piece of steak in your hands and are gnawing on it. Are we infants? Are we sitting in high chairs eating our peas with our fingers? Are we tucking our napkins into our collars like bibs so drops of soup from the bread don't stain our clothes?

                                                    Stop for a minute and think .. would the Queen of England do this? Would the president of hte US do this? If not, there's your answer ... no.

                                                    I suppose I'll regret this post somewhere around post 500 when the masses with unwashed fingers howl out in protest.

                                                    25 Replies
                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                      so we all need to act like people who behavior is overly restricted and formal, like a queen, all the time?

                                                      1. re: rworange

                                                        "After living for a year in a third-world country where people do nothhing but dunk, I don't want to see anything dunked, dipped or eaten with fingers that isn't meant to be"

                                                        but how do you decide what is or is nor meant to be dunked? how do you decide what is or is not gross? how do you decide what is or is not infantile behavior?

                                                        do you look at a book of manners? whence do they draw their authority? is their authority universal and timeless of is it limited to a particular time and place? how do you decide which rule to pick if there is a conflict between them?

                                                        how do you know you have a claim to truth over any of this? how do you tell whether you are right or wrong? do you refer to your own intuitions and those of the people close/similar to you? how do you know you/your circle of friends/your community of like-minded individuals have a privileged access to codes of propriety? whence do you draw your authority?

                                                        1. re: shekamoo

                                                          When you live in or visit a particular culture you follow the rules of etiquette established. Since the OP lives in Southern California, we are talking about the rules of the United States ... at this current point in time.

                                                          So yes, while in Guatemala I got used to ripping apart fried fish with my hands and sucking on the bones. I will make sure my stepchildren don't do this in the US.

                                                          I get my information from good upbringing and the private schools I attended as a child. That was supplemented with a few etiquette books so that I knew the rules when I worked in corporate America. There are also a number of good etiquette sites.

                                                          I don't make the rules. I just try to follow them.

                                                          Yes, I crumble my saltines in my soup ... at home ... but never in public.

                                                          People can do what they like and choose not to care what others think. In the some work situations you might lose a job should you not know the rules when you have that ilunch nterview. One of the reasons some corporations have that lunch interview is to see how the applicant handles themselves socially.. In society in general, some people will think you are ... as I stated in the beginning ... low-class and common.

                                                          Knowing that, each person can make their own decision if the momentary carnal pleasure of dipping bread or whatever in their soup outweighs social .opprobrium by some.

                                                          Quite frankly, I come from a lower middle class family. If I did not follow the rules of etiquette in specific situations, my class would be showing.

                                                        2. re: rworange

                                                          Not "the masses with unwashed finger". But I do think that this is an oddly formalistic viewpoint. It harkens back to an Amy Vanderbilt book my mother had that stated that a sandwich should be eaten with a knife and fork.

                                                          There's a difference between good manners and artificially heightened and formal way of doing things. Too often these artifically fussy ideas are based in the ideal of the "upper classes", who in many ways put forth such concepts as a way to differentiate themselves from the Great Unwashed. (Example: In Great Britain, it was for years traditional to use two forks to eat fish; that's because Queen Mary of Teck saw a commoner eating it with a fork and a fish knife and decreed that therefore Proper Manners meant SHE wouldn't do it that way.)

                                                          I'm not saying that good manners and a proper formal service are silly. I'm saying that some of the thou shalts and thou shalt nots are rather silly and artificial in regard to how people really live.

                                                          1. re: jmckee

                                                            A few years ago my husband and I stopped in at Gladstone in Los Angeles for some "peel and eat" shrimp; Gladstones is famous for their huge piles of shrimp waiting to be peeled and dunked into cocktail sauce. At the table next to us were seated 2 men and a woman. The men peeled their shrimp one by one and dunked etc. The woman used a knife and fork to peel her shrimp, laid thefork down then proceeded to smear a light layer of cocktail sauce on each shrimp with her knife as they were peeled. This scene was so ludicrous that I had a hard time taking my eyes off her. WTF woman??? Who peels "peel and eat" shrimp with a knife and fork? She created more of a scene with her antics than anyone dunking bread in soup. I say dunk! And to Charlotte Ford et al I say Pfffft!
                                                            When the Queen of England invites me to dinner, I'll be sure to mind my manners. Til then......

                                                            1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                              the queen of england can adjust to my manners, i see no reason to adjust to hers

                                                              1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                >>> This scene was so ludicrous that I had a hard time taking my eyes off her. WTF woman??? Who peels "peel and eat" shrimp with a knife and fork? She created more of a scene with her antics than anyone dunking bread in soup.

                                                                Well, first of all, it is impolite to stare at someone.

                                                                Etiquette is not just about following herd logic. Those rules are in place for a reason.

                                                                That being said, my situation in Guatemala was similar to shrimp lady. I used a knife and fork for my fish until an outspoken aunt just said the equivalent in Spanish of "for god's sake, just pick it up and eat it".

                                                                So I do. I don't like it. My fingers get greasy and smell fishy. That may be the reason for shrimp lady's decision to fork it.

                                                                All that being said, I think if anyone does things with aplomb, you can pull it off in most situations. I remember reading a long time ago about someone who had a friend that ate green salad with their fingers. The writer said he did it with such style and self-confidence that he wondered why everyone didn't eat salad with their fingers.

                                                                Listen, I'm being a little silly about all this and wanted to see how many ... fish .. would snap at the etiquette rule bait. Unless it is for personal gain such as a job, I really don't care what people think of me. Though I try to keep the etiquette rules so I remember then when I need them.

                                                                So, as to your statement "When the Queen of England invites me to dinner, I'll be sure to mind my manners" ... you will have a lot of reading and catching up to do etiquette-wise. Like my job situation, I practice etiquette every day,so it is natural and I don't have to sweat it and think about it in situation where I might need it.

                                                                I chose a "tch, tch" tone because of the love fest that was going on about dunking.

                                                                Some people who might not know better may think it is perfectly socially acceptable. People should be aware of the actual etiqutte rule, otherwise it could cost them a job or result in being thought by some as a bumpkin.

                                                                And the answer to the OP is ... no ... according to the current rules of etiquette it is NOT ok to dunk.

                                                                1. re: rworange

                                                                  see this is where you, not surprisingly, lose me.

                                                                  first and foremost : "So I do. I don't like it." but i assume you continued to do it, if i'm reading all your posts correctly, even thogh it is unpleasant to you. i don;t get making yourself unhappy

                                                                  2nd - some of the rules are indeed " just about following herd logic" as they were may have had good reasons 100 years ago that no longer apply, and yet they are still the rules.

                                                                  what is the reason for the rule to not dunk or eat with one's fingers - even french fries?? why shouldn;t one blow on the food to cool it off? why do you need to alter the natural pace of your eating to suit the pace of others? why no elbows on table and left hand in lap? (all of the examples were plucked off current etiquette websites)

                                                                  1. re: thew

                                                                    As I said, when in Rome do as the Romans do. So I'll follow those conventions while I am here ... except for the dunking bread in coffee ... that just tastes bad to me and nobody seems to mind if you don't ... they are probably thinking "your loss ... how can you eat that dry-as-bones sweet roll like that"

                                                                    I hate the whole slurping soup thing with the Japanse. And I forget which culture it is that considers a burp after the meal a compliment. Yet, whatever society I'm in I'll follow those conventions.

                                                                    I guess it is the etiquette equivalent of making people feel at ease. If you dont, it is like a judgement on their rules. And again, for me it was often a business thing. It loses you a contract if they thought they were dealing with a rude and uneducated person. It demonstrated a respect for the country that you would take the time to familiarize yourself with their customs.

                                                                    I think I gave enough of my own thoughts about why dunking isn't a good idea. Whether or not those are the reasons for them, I can't say.

                                                                    I believe there are foods such as French fries and corn on the cob that are acceptable to eat with one's fingers. IIRC, fries should be eaten with a fork only at a formal dinner, probably due to the greasy finger situation.

                                                                    I can't say the reasons for the others.

                                                                    Blowing on soup? Maybe accidently blowing too hard and splattering it on the table. If it is in your spoon when you blow, even more of a risk that some will go astray.

                                                                    There might be an awkwardness if you finish your meal way ahead of others and are sitting there drumming your fingers on the table impatiently (even mentally) waiting for others to finish. It is like a signal that others should rush thru their meal. That's not right, is it? Does anyone like to feel rushed through a meal? There are tons of threads about people disliking when a server implies to hurry up to turn tables. It seems a similar situation when a dining companion is waiting for others. who would otherwise be slower in savoring their meal.

                                                                    Elbows on the table? Maybe it has to do with disrupting the tableware and knocking something on the floor or accidently putting your elbow in the butter on your bread plate. I have no clue, but those could be the reasons.

                                                                    Well, you gotta put that unused hand somewhere. You lap seems as good a place as any. It discourages eating with both hands or waving it around while speaking as though one was swatting flies.

                                                                    But I really don't know. Must be some good reasons behind them. The really silly stuff gets abandoned.

                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                      see - i dont think the really silly stuff gets abandoned that quickly. i think, and this thread seems to me to back em up, they linger long past their date of usefullness

                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                        And to me this thread just backs up the reasons for their continued usefullness ... unless one is into wearing dinner on their clothes, knocking untensil all over and making others feel rushed. or uncomfortable.

                                                                        1. re: rworange

                                                                          This is a highly negative characterization of anybody who doesn't eat by the ne plus ultra of fussy rules. I don't abide by many of the outdated and silly rules. I rarely wear dinner on my clothes, knock utensils all over, or make others feel rushed or uncomfortable. Ask anybody who's eaten at my house.

                                                                          1. re: jmckee

                                                                            You are responding to a summary of this detailed reply

                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7785...

                                                                            Thew wanted to know the why of some of the rules and I gave my guesses.

                                                                            I know the rules, but I can only guess at their reasons. That was the summary of why some of those rules may exist. Whether or not you personally might not experience these problmes doesn't negate that others might have those problems. And if fifty people respond as you do, it still doesn't negate that of the millions of people in the country that might happen.

                                                                            Then again, those wre just my guesses for the existing rules in etiquette books. If anyone knows the actual reasons, please post.

                                                                            And I mean KNOW ... not just assumptions about classism or whatever.

                                                              2. re: jmckee

                                                                OK, I'm not anyone who blindly follows rules. I want to know the reason behind those rules. A lot of time if you think them thru there are good reasons behind them.

                                                                Take the issue of tipping the soup bowl away from you for the last few spoonfuls. If you think about it, it makes sense. If you accidently tip over your bowl, then the soup spills on the table and not on you.

                                                                As to dunking, IMO, the reason is not to make a mess of your clothing by accident. The liquid might drip on your shirt on the way to your mouth ... or the liquid-soaked piece of bread might fall off and land in your lap.

                                                                And ... as mentioned ... who wants to shake hands with someone with greasy or soupy fingers.

                                                                Maybe those aren't the reasons ... but in this case I don't think there is anything artificual about it.

                                                                Those rules that are just silly, get abandoned along the way.

                                                                1. re: rworange

                                                                  If you break the bread with your hands anyway, you can take the piece, dip the far end in the soup, pat to eliminate drips and put it in your mouth and your hands are no dirtier than if you just popped that piece in your mouth without (as you might do w/ olive oil in a nice restaurant). If you're worried about dripping, you'd have the same concern with a spoon, even more so. I think this rule falls into the silly range and should be abandoned.

                                                                  This all reminds me a scene in a movie (I think it was) where there was a country bumpkin at a formal dinner. She picked up chicken drumstick w/ her fingers. Everyone raised eyebrows and snickered. The hostess picked up her chicken with her fingers, too, and said something about how that is the way she prefers to eat it, too. Etiquette should make people feel at ease and not uncomfortable and too many people use it to look down on others, as in this case of the chicken.

                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                    Yes, the hostess was perfectly correct to do that. As you said, etiquette is about making people feel comfortable. Just as in Pretty Woman it was correct when Julai Roberts was made to feel comfortable when she accidently shot her seafood across the room. That is just good breeding.

                                                                    Still, in both situations, those people displayed their lack of finesse, whether or not they were made to feel comfortable at the moment.

                                                                    One should not be using their utensils in a way that would fling food all over the place. Someone proficient with a spoon and not trying to shovel their soup into their mouths will not drip.

                                                                    While some people might be accomplished at dealing with dipped bread without regrettable resutls, my opinion is that many are not and it is an action fraught with peril.

                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                      "Good breeding"? "GOOD BREEDING"? Wow. I haven't seen that phrase since my last Masterpiece Theatre Classic viewing experience. Now you're backing up my assertion re: Queen Mary of Teck, among others -- the idea that certain people think they're to the manor born and therefore can set what's "proper" or what's not.

                                                              3. re: rworange

                                                                Interesting, rw.

                                                                But alot of what you cite about dunking is really cuturally based, no?

                                                                For example, when consuming Chinese crullers with soymilk broth/soup, it is absolutely ok to dunk the crullers into the soymilk broth/soup.

                                                                Another example (although not dunking). Slurping the soup bowl. Perfectly ok with most Chinese and Vietnamese folks, for example, esp. with things like Pho and Beef Noodle Soup. In fact, some use slurping as a way to convey how much they are enjoying that bowl of noodle soup.

                                                                As for the QE, there are alot of things I wouldn't do when dining with her Highness. But that said, I would hope that she would have the common sense (pun intended) and wherewithwal to slurp her soup and dunk her crullers when eating at a table with Viet ex-pats and hungry Chinese breakfast connoseiurs, respectively.

                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                  Of course, the queen would put anyone at ease. I've read about that many times. Her staff might be having hissy fits though.

                                                                  Yeah, we had consecutive posts. I dealt with the issue of other cultures in another post.

                                                                  The way each culture prepares food and eats, IMO, governs the rules. With many Asian cultures using chopsticks instead of knives and forks ... now this is just my observation ... there is a tendency to bend foward over the food or bring the bowl up to one's face to avoid the issues of food dropping on one's person.

                                                                  The whole Guatemalan thing seems to be based on a culture that is likely to stew things for a long time over an open fire such as pepian or kak'ik. So the spoon is the important utensil in this society. Beans and rice may also be efficiently handled with a spoon. Grilled meats and fish .. well, if you really must avoid greasy fingers ... there's tortillas.

                                                                  I did mention the reason for dunking due to baked goods that might not be fresh. There is also the tendency to bend over the coffee cup or bring the cup close to one's mouth when dunking.

                                                                  Why not bend and eat in the US? Dunno. Maybe it has to do with utensils that make that action unnecessary if the utensils are used with skill ... just as anyone who is skillful with chopsticks can avoid grief.

                                                                2. re: rworange

                                                                  I agree with you. Having nice manners isn't snobby or for the upper classes only. It's considerate. It shows that a person respects the social rules, which do, in fact, still exist, even if only a handful of people actually follow them. But the rules aren't there to trip people up, they're there to show one what is expected.

                                                                  And this varies from country to country. In France and Italy, I use the bread to mop up the sauce because this is okay in those countries. In China, I'm told (have never been there, so someone correct me), it's polite to burp at the table to show your appreciation for the food, so I'm sure I'd do that if it were called for.

                                                                  The tearoom rules you posted are what I was taught as a child (minus the mobile phone stuff, as those didn't exist), so I'd have no trouble following them. It just wouldn't occur to me not to do so.

                                                                  And all I need to appreciate refined manners is to eat a meal with my mother in law, whose manners are so vile I think we should rent her out to dieters to help them curb their appetites.

                                                                  1. re: Isolda

                                                                    if only a handful of people follow them, it means they are no longer actually the social rules of that society anymore.

                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                      I get what you're saying and agree that society dictates what rules to keep and what to ditch, but we're in a state of anarchy where it seems no one respects any rules for politeness. That's why I prefer the "older" rules.

                                                                      I'm sensitive about this because my mother in law is so nasty when she eats that I can't even look at her. I'd be thrilled if the manners police showed up and told her not to pick her teeth with her fingers and then reach into a communal bowl for something without bothering to use the utensils that were provided.

                                                                    2. re: Isolda

                                                                      I've also been told that the Chinese would burp to show his/her satisfaction after a meal. But all my life, I'd only seen a Chinese person (whether in China, Taiwan, HK or elsewhere) looking very embarassed if he/she accidentally burped, and they'd exclaim (in Chinese, of course) "Excuse me!" :-D

                                                                    3. re: rworange

                                                                      This is why I stopped having my regular lunch with the Queen of England, we used to get together every other Tuesday and I liked dunking my little sandwiches in the tea, and she was all like "That is not how we do it on this side of the pond," and I was like "Yeah but that's how we did it when we saved your ass from Hitler" and from there it just got ugly.

                                                                      1. re: redfish62

                                                                        You stole the undies and put them up for auction, didn't you? It was you, right?

                                                                    4. Depends what you're dunking. I have no problem with crostini and soup as described above, though my method would be to put the crostini in the soup whole, then scoop them out with my soup spoon when they were a bit softer. If they're too large for a single spoonful, I'd break them with my soup spoon before each bite.

                                                                      But I detest dunking things in _drinks_ of any kind. I don't mind if you do it, as long as you don't make slurping noises. I just don't want to. It grosses me out. I have no idea why. I used to do it as a kid, with tea and Nabisco Striped Shortbread, when I had tea with my grandmother. But it icks me out as a grownup.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Jay F

                                                                        >>> It grosses me out. I have no idea why

                                                                        For me it is the flacid, soggy texture that I dislike. Not to mention hacking on crumbs that may now be in your cup. I'm still ok with Oreo's in milk ... but then again, I don't like Oreo's much these days.

                                                                        It is common practice ... expected ... in Guatemala that you dunk your sweet roll in coffee ... even ... ick ... soda. I can see the reasons behind that. It is a poor country and baked goods get hard and stale. This is a way of choking down old baked goods. It just is accepted at ever level. I never liked it. I'd rather skip the sweet roll than slop down a soggy piece of bread.

                                                                        1. re: rworange

                                                                          Soggy is not one of my favorite textures, either. It's down there with gooey.

                                                                      2. Yes. I paid for it. I'm going to eat it.

                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                        1. re: raytamsgv

                                                                          Regarding the statement "who wants to shake hands with someone's greasy, soupy fingers?" Now I gotta ask ya who the heck (or insert favorite word here) would shake hands with someone while they're eating? Sure as (f.w.) not me. I'm not touching someone's hand then eating my food with my hand after that. And by the way, why would you shake someone's hand AFTER you've eaten with grease or soup still on your hand? That's what your napkin is there for. That argument makes no sense at all. Anyone slovenly enough to leave the table with grease or soup on their hands shouldn't be allowed to mingle with real people. ;-)

                                                                          1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                            Your napkin is there there to handle accidents and light clean-up, not for personal grooming and de-slicking.

                                                                            Take a close look at the face of a hostess who is using fine linen napkins and a guest is using them to degrease their hands. Those stains ... and depending on the soup... are difficult to remove.

                                                                            LIke a scout, always be prepared. In a business situation, it is likely someone might walk up to the table, introduce themselves and extend their hand ... uh ... can ya wait a minute while I scrape the food off my fingers with my napkin.

                                                                            Of course, leaving the table, people often shake hands in a business situation.

                                                                            Even in social situation, I've had my hand gallantly kissed by a gentleman once or twice in my life as he was exiting the group ... mmmm ... love the way your fingers taste of tomato soup.

                                                                            Even using a napkin to somewhat degrease, unless you excuse yourself and wash your hands there is likely to be some residue.

                                                                            Anyway, as I said, I'm being a curmudgeon on this to offer a different perspective.

                                                                            1. re: rworange

                                                                              The kitchen towels and the dining linens get washed by the same laundry service.

                                                                              1. re: jaykayen

                                                                                Ah ... my lower middle class upbringing is showing as cleanup is done by me or the people who invite me to dinner ... no staff or use of a laundry service ... the latter sometimes being more expensive in terms of napkins than just buying new ones.

                                                                              2. re: rworange

                                                                                So you're saying that the napkin is only used for accidents and clean up? I'm not suppose to wipe my mouth or hands with it? You mean I've been doing it wrong all these years? I don't give a rat's pattooie who comes to my table to shake hands with me, I am NOT shaking hands with someone who's hand could have been anywhere, including having shook other hands (ewwww) then going back to eating with that hand even if it's just to hold my bread. Really??? I don't have to actually wash my hands with soap and water to get the food off. I'm not getting food all over my hands and I don't know anyone who eats like that. At least not in MY circle of friends.

                                                                                1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                                  Well, if you are using utensils rather than your hands to eat, there is no need to worry about shaking somone's hand during the meal.

                                                                                  That last sentence, of course, is full of holes if thought through. Still to decline a handshake ... shudder. Never. Excuse yourself and wash your hands if that is a concern.

                                                                                  As to napkin eitiquette this site should really get you foaming at the mouth (you may dab that with your napkin).

                                                                                  http://etiquettewithmissjanice.blogsp...

                                                                                  "Do dab the corners of your mouth with your napkin--don't wipe your mouth!"

                                                                                  1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                                    Ah, an even better ... and sometimes hilarious napkin etiquette link by someone who managed a fine dining establishiment for eight years and viewed all sorts of social gaffs ... loved the part about the woman dancing around and blowing out the candles of her birthday cake with a napkin. Anyway, good read with reasons for all of this

                                                                                    You did what with your napkin?

                                                                                    http://www.etiquetteguy.com/column_03...

                                                                                    "So why do we have all of these do's and dont's? This goes back to the very roots of good manners - respect. Imagine the waiter who must handle the napkin. How disgusting to be handling someone's personal hankie. You must always show respect to the staff. And if you are lucky enough to have staff at home, remember that they actually run the household for you. As far as the whole lipstick, red wine and chocolate situations are concerned, think of having to do the laundry at home. Some of those stains are impossible to remove and therefore the napkin must be discarded.'

                                                                                    So even if there is a napkin service being used, some really tough stains won't come out and your host or the restaurant may have to throw it out.

                                                                                    As the article concludes about refraining from napkin abuse

                                                                                    "It seems a small thing, but it speaks volumes to the restaurant owners and wait staff when such common courtesies are given. The next time you are dining with linens, know now that you have the napkin thing under control. You will be noticed and respect will be your reward. "

                                                                                    Respect.

                                                                                    That's the word to focus on etiquette-wise.

                                                                                    For those who say they don't give a rat's ass what other think about their behaviour, what you are really saying is you don't respect others ... and that is a HUGE etiquette faux-pas.

                                                                                  2. re: rworange

                                                                                    exactly - you say excuse me, while you wipe your hands, and then greet them warmly after. i cannot imagine anyone getting offended over that. not anyone who's hand i would care to shake in the 1st place, at any rate.

                                                                              3. Um...what's so terrible about doing that? Unless I'm dunking it into someone else's bowl maybe that's quite rude but if there is extra sauce on MY plate and I then take some bread for MY table what's wrong with that? I'm not making rude noises or flinging sauce everywhere. I do it all the time everywhere...is this some kinda faux pas?

                                                                                1. Of course it is! Dunking is not disturbing to anyone (unlike talking loudly on the cell phone or slurping soup). If anyone gives you the stink-eye or looks at you with disdain, it is more a reflection of their personal insecurities (caviling is usually a cover for low self-esteem) than your table manners.

                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: herbivore_mi

                                                                                    Again, no it is not, according to the current rules of etiquette.

                                                                                    Whether you choose to follow them or not is up to you.. Officially though, no ... even though some might not find it offensive and others just like the flavor.

                                                                                    Probably no one will say anything to you. But some people will judge you by it. If it is an employer, then it matters. Whether or not you want to work for someone who my judge your tables manners is up to you Some folks like the frills of Fortune 100 companies.

                                                                                    It depends on what your staion in life may be. For some, like algebra, the rules of etiquette will never need to be put to use. But because some people are comfortable with the idea of dunking, doesn't change the rule.

                                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                                      "It depends on what your staion in life may be. For some, like algebra, the rules of etiquette will never need to be put to use. But because some people are comfortable with the idea of dunking, doesn't change the rule." This may be one of the most elitist statements I've ever read on this website. And explains the tone of that end of this exchange perfectly.

                                                                                      1. re: jmckee

                                                                                        Why elitist?

                                                                                        Actually it is vox populi. How many times have you heard people who hate algebra say they will never need it in life? I've heard it a lot. And in the decades since I've graduated, despite working as a computer engineer, I have never used algebra. So for my particular station in life, that was true.

                                                                                        Just as I have said the reason why someone might care about the dunking rule ... depending on your job, you may or may not need it. That one I personally needed to use because of my job situation.

                                                                                        If you are in the position to need that knowledge for a particular job, then the factual,, not the popular, answer is what I wrote about dunking. It is in etiquette books.

                                                                                        1. re: rworange

                                                                                          I've frequently used algebra to calculate quantities when re-sizing recipes. It's easier now to just ask my BF, who's a walking calculator.

                                                                                    2. re: herbivore_mi

                                                                                      how about speaking loudly not on a cell phone? speaking softly on a cell phone?

                                                                                    3. Hi all,

                                                                                      I've been following this thread. Appears to me most of us are dunkers but of different stripes.

                                                                                      So far we have:

                                                                                      1. Whole slice dunker (That's me unless it's a gigantic slice of San Luis Sourdough and the soup is in a cup. Then I'm a cutter-dunker.)

                                                                                      2. Hand-held dunker, followed by polite finger licking (Chowser)

                                                                                      3. Fence sitter dunker. (Akq - business fancy restaurant - no dunking. With family - a sandwich dunker.

                                                                                      4. Secretive won't say dunker. (Sherriberri, who dunks but doesn't say how.)

                                                                                      5. Heel-skater dunker-mopper. (Bagelman. He has chosen not to disclose his daughter's method. Hmmm...)

                                                                                      6. Tear off, dunk and sop with a fork dunkers. (Uwsister, and Scarmoza, who has been known to soak the whole slice of bread. Ipsedixit, our OP, who hasn't revealed her favorite dunk-style, does admit to the whole-slice dunk at times.)

                                                                                      7. Sedate adventurous dunker. (Motosport, who dunks sedately even in finer restaurants, has branched off from bread-in-soup to croissants in cafe au lait. This is most likely the result of hot dog and Coke days at Nedick's.)

                                                                                      8. Fork-dunker. (Although Brentk feels the 'proper' method is using a fork, he does admit to some lapses.)

                                                                                      9. Floater-lifter. (Jaykayen)

                                                                                      10. Mopper-dunker. (The Drama Queen)

                                                                                      11. Last, the rabid anti-dunker, who uses etiquette book quotes to disparage those who like to dunk, see no earthly reason why not to dunk and will continue to dunk. Also known as the fun-thread killer. (rworange)

                                                                                      Hope I didn't miss anyone! :)

                                                                                      Lucy

                                                                                      25 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                                          Cheers to the dunkers!!!

                                                                                          May we live long and prosper!!!

                                                                                          Lucy

                                                                                        2. re: I used to know how to cook...

                                                                                          Well, actually I did say I crumble saltines at home and I will dunk oreos in milk, so ... incorrect. I actually haven't discussed when and what I dunk.

                                                                                          The question in the OP was not "Let's say you are at a nice restaurant (whatever "nice" may mean to you), DO YOU dunk the bread into your soup?

                                                                                          THe question was is it ok to dunk. The answer officially is no. If that is disparaging anyone, I don't know how that would be.

                                                                                          I chose the answer that is honest, not popular. I feel it is more helpful and respectul than giving incorrect advice, especially to someone who might inapropriately dunk at the wrong time.

                                                                                          Also, I never said what my official position was on it. I am just repeating back what I've heard over the years from people who care about the rules of etiquette will say ... though not often to anyone's face. Is that right or wrong ... whatever it is ... it is.

                                                                                          So i chose to speak the truth about the sitation rather than misleading people for a fun-time, cozy good feeling that in real life could do damage to someone.

                                                                                          As I said in almost every reply. Do what your like. That doesn't make it correct.

                                                                                          In other words ... dunk, you all ... if you desire

                                                                                          And as I mentioned earlie, good manners and etiquette is about showing respoect. Think about that one.

                                                                                          1. re: rworange

                                                                                            " The answer officially is no "
                                                                                            Who sets these official rules ?
                                                                                            To me so called R of E are simply what is considered acceptable behavior by most in a given situation. There are NO official rules....... also, these so called rules are different within cultures and different by location etc.

                                                                                            1. re: celeryroot

                                                                                              OK celeryroot, you get second prize for that one just because those were MY thoughts exactly. Who in the heck sets those rules? And for which culture are those "rules' to be applied? Many etiquette rules were set years and years ago and things have changed since the days when women were treated differently, (it was considered gauche and bourgoise for a woman to laugh during a dinner conversation) so I'm thinking in our modern, more casual lifestyle the rules set back then have been either eliminated or relaxed. Unless you're making unappetizing slurping sounds or getting food all over your face, dunking discreetly shouldn't be considered bad table manners. Nothing should be done anywhere or anytime that would be considered offensive or viewed as slovenly by others. Which brings us to another question: exactly what is offensive? It's the "eye of the
                                                                                              beholder" argument.
                                                                                              Isn't this the best thread?? :-)

                                                                                              1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                                                I got the arbitrary rules argument from my BF when I tried to nicely pursuade him to improve his eating habits when dining with my parents. He talks with his mouth full and belches with abandon without saying "excuse me". Maybe it's just my family where those were drummed in as no-nos, but my 6-year-old nephew is very aware of them. Of course, there's no easy way to discuss this with someone, but I can see the disgust on my Dad's face when it happens, and it'd be nice to avoid that. Lost cause.

                                                                                              2. re: celeryroot

                                                                                                I provided a lot of links and there are tons of etiquette books out there

                                                                                                Had breakfast with a friend in Antigua, GT this morning and as he was dunking his his roll into the coffee, I started to tell him about this thread. We both got into a fit of giggles. He promises not to dunk in the US if I will start in Guatemala. Neither is going to happen.

                                                                                                1. re: rworange

                                                                                                  Does not answer question. I can only assume you have deemed it " official " and no one else. Ill say once more there is NO official set of Rules as most people on this thread seem to agree. My opinion is dunking is perfectly acceptable to most in US and I certainly would not ever consider someone low class and common for not following your official rules.

                                                                                                  1. re: celeryroot

                                                                                                    This is actually hilarious to me in terms of the response.

                                                                                                    First the devoted dunkers of the world howl in protest at outdated rules.

                                                                                                    Now there is a denial that the rules even exist.

                                                                                                    As I said, pick up any etiquette book or search the etiquette sites on the web and you will find the same answer - don't dunk.

                                                                                                    I still don't see the problem as I keep repeating that people can do what they like, but it doesn't change the rules. Group consensus on a select thread doesn't change what is written in etiquette books.

                                                                                                    So, I suspect some people, despiite sying they don't care ... do care what others think. Otherwise there would not be such an outcry.

                                                                                                    As Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

                                                                                                    I don't mean you personally, but everyone who has railed against this particular rule.

                                                                                                    There's a rule. If you don't care to follow it, so what?

                                                                                                    That doesn't change the fact that you can find it in every etiquette book you pick up that addresses the subject.

                                                                                                    And that neither says what my opinion is on dunking. I never gave that though if you read between the lines on the post you responded to, you might get an idea.

                                                                                                    It is not my rule. I am just quoting what I have read. I'm just the messenger, so don't shoot the messenger.

                                                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                                                      in this case what people do DOES change the rules, as the rules of etiquette are a reflection of a societies rules and mores.

                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                        Ok, send me the credible etiquette site link or the name of the book that states the changed rule.

                                                                                                        Consensus by a minute group of people in this topic does not change the current written word.

                                                                                                        1. re: rworange

                                                                                                          I can write whatever I like and post it to the web but does that make it true or right? I can even change my name to etiquette maven or something equally assinine, but again that will not make it the rule.

                                                                                                          In my humble opinion dunk if you feel comfortable doing so, or not.

                                                                                                          In my favourite resto ( somewhat upscale, white tablecloth type of establishment) I love getting the mussels and a basket of good crusty bread and enjoy with a nice glass or two of wine. The chef owner loves that I do this ( we have discussed it) because most of the customers "don't appriciate the care I put into my food like you do"

                                                                                                          Just sayin'

                                                                                                          1. re: jiminy

                                                                                                            I.M.H.O. it would be a mortal sin of sacrilege (That's very serious in the RC rule book) to refrain from dipping some fabulous bread into that broth.
                                                                                                            As my Italian Grandma would say "that's the besta part!"

                                                                                                            1. re: jiminy

                                                                                                              >>> can write whatever I like and post it to the web but does that make it true or right? I can even change my name to etiquette maven or something equally assinine, but again that will not make it the rule.

                                                                                                              Which is why I qualifed it with the word "credible".

                                                                                                              There are sites that say dunk away. For these I really didn't find credentials. The known etiquette authorities and sites that do etiquette consulting for corporations say don't dunk.

                                                                                                              However, as stated, people can decide to follow those rules or not.

                                                                                                          2. re: thew

                                                                                                            Well said thew. Rules need to be changed to keep up with changing times and mores. There was a time when NO ONE would think of boarding a plane in jeans and t-shirts. Women were "required" by the rules of etiquette to wear dresses or skirts and high heeled shoes. The FAA change those rules by saying it was difficult or dangerous for women to escape from a plane if a crash occured while wearing a tight skirt and high heels. Now the suggestion is that flat shoes and slacks are not only perfectly acceptable but highly encouraged.
                                                                                                            Dunking is one of those changing rules as I see it. Who is to say what's right and wrong? How are these rules determined? You can dunk discreetly and in such a way that food isn't dripping all over the place so why not? Society is too tight-a$$ed in my opinion. Let's loosen those etiquette reins and enjoy life.

                                                                                                          3. re: rworange

                                                                                                            De gustibus non est disputandum

                                                                                                            1. re: rworange

                                                                                                              This thread is hilarious. I totally agree with you rworange. There are traditional ettiquette "rules" against dunking and most of us know what they are - otherwise, why ask the question? But what is the penalty for breaking the rules? It really depends on the situation. In a business context, might you not get the business or the promotion or the account? Maybe. In a personal context, might your significant other's parents think you were raised in a barn? Maybe. Or maybe no one will care... It just depends. That was the reason for my answer: in a business meal, I would not dunk. I might also choose to order what I can eat without making a mess, even if it's not what I'd order if I were with close friends and not wearing dressy clothes.

                                                                                                              I think it's really interesting that so many people on the thread are almost militant about their right to dunk!

                                                                                                      2. re: rworange

                                                                                                        Disparaging??

                                                                                                        rworange, from your Apr 15, 2011 12:24AM post:

                                                                                                        "No. It is low-class and common.

                                                                                                        (The middle of this very long post is, to me, also quite disparaging of folks who dunk. No need to quote the whole thing, you can scroll up.)

                                                                                                        I suppose I'll regret this post somewhere around post 500 when the masses with unwashed fingers howl out in protest."

                                                                                                        The masses with unwashed fingers...THE MASSES WITH UNWASHED FINGERS??? What? Good grief!

                                                                                                        Lucy

                                                                                                      3. re: I used to know how to cook...

                                                                                                        For the record, I was just joking about finger licking. Call me a semi-heathen because I dunk bite sized pieces but don't lick. I had a great bowl of mussels today at a nice restaurant and it came w/ grilled slices of bread. I won't argue w/ the chef so I did. My fingers were messier from the mussels than the dipping.

                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                          Oh, Chowser, Chowser, no need to have sticky fingers. There's a better way...

                                                                                                          Here's what you do... Take your glass of water, wine, whatever clear liquid you have, move it below table level and discreetly dunk those fingers, then wipe them off on your napkin.

                                                                                                          Oh, the shame of it all - using your napkin for its intended purpose! I'm scandalized!!

                                                                                                          Of course, if your fingers are REALLY, REALLY messy, dunk the napkin and use it to wipe off. Then your beverage doesn't get polluted. This last method is particularly effective when "dining" with three people under the age of five. Hands and faces get the quick wash. (Been there, done that, more times than I care to admit.)

                                                                                                          : )

                                                                                                          Lucy

                                                                                                          1. re: I used to know how to cook...

                                                                                                            I've been known to discreetly use the condensation on the outside of my water glass to get stuff off my fingertips. I really don't like having food on my hands (a personal hangup).

                                                                                                            1. re: tracylee

                                                                                                              OMG (as my son's friends would say). I thought I was the ONLY person who did that?

                                                                                                              1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                I don't think I've seen anyone else do it, but maybe they're so subtle I never noticed. I like to drink the water in the glass, and rinsing my fingers in it would put me off drinking it.

                                                                                                        2. If you can do it quietly, tidily and with finesse, I say 'dunk'. Regardless of what is considered 'proper' and good manners, do whatever you want as long as you do it with dexterity and class.

                                                                                                          1. I know this is going to sound way out there - but for me all these "is this ok" rules sort of remind me of the "is homosexuality ok?" debate. Some old book of rules say it's a sin so some people get bothered by it, even though there's no good reason to be bothered. I know I'm not adding much to the discussion here but really, why wouldn't it be ok?

                                                                                                            1. I say dunk. Dunk nicely, without any splashing and without getting your fingers in the soup, and keep your pinky down ;). Dining with the Queen of England, perhaps not. But I also doubt that this would become an issue in that case as it wouldn't be served to you in such a way that would allow dunking.

                                                                                                              This is also a cultural issue. My Scots WASP Mum would so no dunking, whilst my Turkish Dad would say go ahead and dunk, as well as using bread to sop up a sauce on ones plate. He'd still say to do it nicely and with out getting one's hands dirty with small pieces of bite sized bread.

                                                                                                              BTW now I want a bowl of tomato bisque and some crostini to dunk in there.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: cosmogrrl

                                                                                                                When I return from "the wedding" this week-end I'll let you know if my dunking offended the Queen of England. ;-)

                                                                                                              2. Now that we have beaten the topic of dunking to a pulp, I think it is time to move on.

                                                                                                                Next topic......Is it OK to lick one's fingers at the dinner table? It will be interesting to see whether the dunkers among you are also lickers.

                                                                                                                I'll go first. Although I know it is wrong and my wife scolds me whenever she sees me do it, on rare occasions I have licked my fingers at home, particularly when they are coated in BBQ sauce. I would never do it in public and never in the presence of company.

                                                                                                                How about you?

                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: brentk

                                                                                                                  To paraphrase billy33 ...

                                                                                                                  "If you can do it quietly, tidily and with finesse, I say lick. Regardless of what is considered 'proper' and good manners, do whatever you want as long as you do it with dexterity and class."

                                                                                                                  I've studied the technique of my cat and emulate that.

                                                                                                                  Now, should one lick the fingers of others at the table?

                                                                                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                    LMAO brentk. How does one lick his fingers with dexterity and class? You are NEVER gonna make this a class act no matter how you do it. Now THIS could piss off the Queen of England for sure. As for licking the fingers of others, uh, that should be done in private.

                                                                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                      "I've studied the technique of my cat and emulate that."

                                                                                                                      Now that's one heck of a visual!!!

                                                                                                                      Lucy

                                                                                                                    2. re: brentk

                                                                                                                      In a hockey bar, eating wings, watching the game. Yup, I'll lick my fingers. I know that it's against the Emily Post etiquette guide and don't really care. Besides no one is watching me, and I do it delicately. This is my exception BTW, I don't like my fingers anywhere else in public. Oh, and never when I'm sharing a plate of wings.

                                                                                                                      1. re: brentk

                                                                                                                        One of our regular dinner companions, R, hates finger lickers. I am a finger licker.
                                                                                                                        One night I planned with my fellow dinner companions to all lick our fingers in unison. Sort of like synchronized finger licking with all of the sound effects. It took a moment for R to realize it was staged. Still made him nuts.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                          Thank you for that Motosport. It's 8:30 A.M and now I have to burn my brain to get that image out of my head or my entire day is trashed! A gang lick. OMG who would have thought ;-)

                                                                                                                          1. re: The Drama Queen

                                                                                                                            Anytime!!!
                                                                                                                            I thought of setting the "gang lick" to a musical tune.
                                                                                                                            Perhaps next time "Deep in the hear of Texas" for BBQ ribs slathered with sauce.

                                                                                                                        2. re: brentk

                                                                                                                          If you are in a setting where it is OK to eat food coated in BBQ sauce with you hands, then it's OK to lick you fingers.

                                                                                                                          1. re: brentk

                                                                                                                            Do you lick your wife's fingers when she has eaten a differnt dish than you have? Makes for an interesting tasting menu.

                                                                                                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                              Sounds like a scene from "Tom Jones" (The movie)

                                                                                                                          2. Hi... If it were caviar and toast points, one would likely use the spoon to ladle on a bit of the caviar upon the bread, and there you go. Why cannot the same be done with soup? Take the spoon, ladle a bit of soup onto the bread until it it is absorbed, then lift the delicious morsel to your awaitng lips/piehole :-)

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: silence9

                                                                                                                              Why do that when I can just dip the bread in the soup? Is the soup the culinary version of the Virgin Mary, it must remain immaculate, there can be no insertion of foreign objects into the soup?

                                                                                                                              Obviously if it were caviar you would not dip the bread into the caviar because that would be utterly pointless, the caviar would not adhere to the bread.

                                                                                                                              1. re: redfish62

                                                                                                                                :-) Well, true enough, and I suppose one could also just sip soup through a straw and dispense with spoons altogether... As to my original suggestion, presuming one has a piece of bread in one hand and one's spoon in the other, the spoon is already poised for action; spoons are tools, and if a tool is literally in-hand already, why _not_ employ it?

                                                                                                                            2. If I can offend a pretentious douchbag while doing something that doesn't offend the general public, It is a fine day.

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. It seems like everything there is to be said on this subject has already been said, and now the conversation is just going in circles, and growing increasingly unfriendly. We're going to lock it now.