The Rules For Mastering Bread-Eating Etiquette

Dinner rolls falling out of a bread basket
Dinner rolls falling out of a bread basket - Milton Buzon/Shutterstock

One of the biggest joys in life is a warm piece of fresh bread with butter or olive oil, so it can be hard to show restraint when the bread basket arrives at the table while you're out at a restaurant or a dinner party. Before you go tearing through the entire basket of Olive Garden breadsticks, there are a few finer points of bread eating to master, according to Nikesha Tannehill Tyson, etiquette consultant and author from the Swann School of Protocol Shreveport.

While most of us have been grabbing breadsticks and buns with reckless abandon all this time, Tannehill Tyson says there are rules for mastering bread-eating etiquette, starting with slowing down and taking your bread one step at a time. "The bread should be taken from the service plate/platter and placed on your bread plate," she explained. "Bread should not be taken from the service plate and eaten, be sure the bread is placed on your bread-and-butter plate and eaten from there."

Read more: 7 Butter Brands You Should Buy, And 7 You Shouldn't

It's All About Hygiene

Sliced bread in lined basket
Sliced bread in lined basket - Eurngkwan/Getty Images

Taking the time to place a single Parker House Roll on your bread plate is not only the piece of bread etiquette, however. Nikesha Tannehill Tyson, who authored the book "Going Public," says that the bread plate is also the spot for butter and olive oil. She said, "Take a serving of butter from the butter dish and place it on your bread-and-butter plate." She continued, "Break off a small piece of bread (hold it in your fingers) and butter it. Butter each piece as you eat it. Do not slather butter on the entire portion of bread." According to her, bread should be considered a finger food that you eat piece by piece.

Just because you're breaking bread with a group doesn't mean you should share germs too. According to Tannehill Tyson, keep hygiene in mind when you're enjoying a bread basket or loaf with other people. Always use the knife served with the bread to do any cutting and slicing, and only touch the bread you're planning to eat. "When the loaf is served in a basket, it is usually wrapped in a cloth, be sure to use the cloth when slicing the bread to ensure proper table hygiene," said Tannehill Tyson.

Exceptions To The Rules

Loaves of bread in a lined basket
Loaves of bread in a lined basket - Alle12/Getty Images

Not all bread — or bread service — is created equal, however. Nikesha Tannehill Tyson says that when it comes to things like toast, there are exceptions to the rules. "The entire piece of toast can be buttered and eaten without breaking it into bite-sized pieces," she said. Continuing, she added, "Hot bread can be buttered all over to allow the butter to melt."

If you're eating bread that's served with any sort of dipping sauce, like oil or vinegar, each place setting should have a plate for dipping. If you're already using your small plate for the bread, it's okay to ask for an extra plate for the sauce. If you're on a date or eating with family and friends, Tannehill Tyson says, "It is acceptable to share the same dipping plate or place a small amount onto your bread plate, then spoon onto bite size pieces."

Also, there are some dos and don'ts if you're eating food with gravy. While it's perfectly polite to eat gravy with your bread, use a utensil. "It is acceptable to 'sop up' gravy with your bread using your fork, never your fingers," said Tannehill Tyson. She then clarified that it's bad manners to "clean your plate" with a piece of bread. The next time you're aiming to elevate your dinner party (and maybe also the rolls themselves), keep an air of decorum in mind so that everyone gets a bite of bread while keeping the event a little extra civilized.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.