What is “La Scarpetta”
“La scarpetta” is an Italian tradition to use bread to clean the plate. This word can hardly be translated in other languages except if using a whole definition of the action itself. People say that the word ‘scarpetta’ recalls a type of pasta used in the 19th century in Tuscany, others say that it is linked to the idea of a little shoe, literally, a ‘scarpetta’, taking everything under its sole and cleaning the plate.
The act itself is very simple: it’s just dipping some bread in the leftovers of whatever one has just finished eating. For Italians, however, there is a whole world behind this habit, and arguments on whether it is polite or not to do it have been going on for ages.
Does it mean having bad manners?
After centuries of discussions and thousands of people debating should it be avoided when dining formally or embraced fully as a righteous manner to conclude a fantastic meal, it has been eventually decided that doing it is not so much of a problem anymore.
It is said that the ‘scarpetta’ should only find place on more informal tables and one should always use a fork to hold the bread. No matter if people are from the north, center or south of the country, doing the ‘scarpetta’ is ubiquitous and equally loved by diners and chefs alike. Italian cooks say there is no greater satisfaction than receiving a clean plate back in the kitchen, a clear sign that people really enjoyed their food.
Certainly, there are people who think that a ‘scarpetta’ is an impolite thing to do yet, it is a temptation that most Italians and many tourists cannot resist.