Social Question

NaturallyMe's avatar

Do you have a problem with people licking their plates?

Asked by NaturallyMe (4922points) July 15th, 2010

I do it (obviously not in restaurants or at other people’s homes, because it’s frowned upon as ya’ll know).
I don’t see the sense in leaving a really good sauce in the plate to go to waste – i wonder if the people who use the saying “there are starving people in the world ya know” to make you finish your food will also make you lick your plate clean, because there are often many nutrients left in the sauces.
Plus! It’s good manner towards the host to clean your plate a little :P – i for one hate washing plates with lots of sauces left on it, it just dirties up the water.
So, why in your opinion is it considered rude to lick a plate? And do you agree with it?

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59 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with licking your plate as long as you keep all four paws on the floor.

NaturallyMe's avatar

@Jeruba – but who assigned the licking only to animals? I honestly don’t see why it’s frowned upon to lick a plate – it means there’s still food on the plate – why is it considered decent to leave behind food on your plate just because your fork can’t pick it up? Edit: isn’t it just being wasteful because of snooty-ness?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Rules about manners are arbitrary but some people take they very seriously.
Mopping up sauces with pieces of bread on your fork is considered good manners.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I don’t lick my plate, but I will use a piece of bread to get any extra sauce off the plate if it was really good.

NaturallyMe's avatar

But….sometimes there ain’t no bread…..or the sauces just don’t compliment the bread….or maybe you’re on a diet and you don’t wanna eat bread….
@Dr_Lawrence – i agree, some societal rules really are arbitrary and serve no good purpose anymore, if they even ever did.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I always serve plenty of fresh bread with meals. That’s the proper instrument to clean your plate or soup bowl with. If you want to lick your plate, do it on the floor, but the cats will think its theirs and probably chase you off.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Jeruba – that is funny GA!

I don’t really care if you lick your plate or not. What you do in your own home is your business. I tell you what though, my mom would have had your hide if you did that at her table. She didn’t even like it when my brother would tip the last drops off his plate into his mouth. I, of course, am much too suave and sophisticated to behave thusly, hehehe!

NaturallyMe's avatar

You’re all just SNOOTY! :P

I still haven’t heard any reasons as to why you all are obeying this rule to begin with. I hope none of you lick your fingers off either, ‘cause that’s just as “rude”. Or pick your noses without a tissue. :)

k8tie2237's avatar

haha I do it..but ONLY when I’m by myself :) I think that’s the only time anyone should do it. It is pretty rude…and gross lol but I guess if you know someone well enough like a spouse or best friend, they wouldn’t mind. Or family.

NaturallyMe's avatar

@k8tie2237 :) Well it would be gross if you make dog-like licking sounds, hehe. Other than that, the plate in front of your face should stop everyone else from seeing you lick it. ;P

Facade's avatar

My SO gets on me about this. I think it’s perfectly ok when you’re at home, but I’d never do it in public.

Cruiser's avatar

Nah that would be gross as you just don’t know who licked it clean last.

Steve_A's avatar

I lick my plate, its good practice. ;)

NaturallyMe's avatar

@Cruiser – EW!! Hopefully where ever you’re eating they know how to wash dishes properly…wen visiting some people i definitely wouldn’t attempt to lick the plate because their dishwashing skills fall a little short. :0

NaturallyMe's avatar

@Steve_A – oh crikey. :D

Pandora's avatar

@Jeruba Oh, my dog sometime puts a paw in his food. :)
@NaturallyMe Nothing wrong with it. It certainly makes it easier to wash in the dishwasher. I can put it light wash instead of the longer cycle that uses more energy.
So long as its in the privacy of your own home with your own family, than I don’t see a problem with you. People lick their fingers when they are at home and use napkins when they are out in public.

ubersiren's avatar

I wouldn’t have a problem with it at my house at my table, personally. It’s kind of silly to do it when you could more easily use some bread, but I wouldn’t be offended or put off.

gemiwing's avatar

At home, at your own table, then it’s fine. Out in public or at someone’s house, nope.

dynamicduo's avatar

I feel there are more tactful ways to get at all the sauce, such as using a piece of bread, versus my tongue. But I have been known to use my finger to scrape out the last of a guacamole dish, when in my own house and not sharing with others. It’s just too good to resist.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Licking your plate?? No.
Sometimes you just have to let the sauce go…let it go…

knitfroggy's avatar

I personally don’t lick my plate because I was taught it is bad manners. But if you come over to eat and want to lick your plate because my cooking is so great, I would accept that as a great compliment!

Coloma's avatar

No. Can’t say that I do.

BUT…I will, on occasion tip my bowl to drink the last of whatever.

I love vinagarette dressings, if I am alone I always sip the last of the marinade when my salad is gone. lol

BoBo1946's avatar

@Jeruba LMAO…..................that was good!

tedibear's avatar

I only do it after a bowl of really good ice cream.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I have no problems with this – manners, so to speak, are arbitrary and what is a proper or improper ‘tool to use’ when it comes to the leftover sauce is a ridiculous, imo, conversation, truly. People are so ridiculous, sometimes. I lick my plate at home and in public and if anyone says anything I reply ‘at least I enjoy my life’. Period.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

As long as you do it in the privacy of your home, don’t do it in front of us should we be invited over for a meal, or tell us about it when everyone is eating, it’s A-OK.

It’s my issue…not yours. Surely it stems from years of watching Dad give the dog the plate to lick. Then he would hand it to Mom and say, “This one is clean…you can just put it back in the cabinet.”

gailcalled's avatar

The French do it without the fork, mainly because the bread is so delicious and so soppable.
When I lived with a provincial French family during a summer when I was young, it was considered wasteful not to mop your plate, excluding dessert.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I use a bit of bread.

Mostly because I love me some bread! ;)

tinyfaery's avatar

I don’t think I ever finish everything on my plate, so licking it would be rather messy. Honestly, I would be taken aback if someone licked off their plate. That’s what tortillas (in my family) are for.

NaturallyMe's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille – haha :)
@Simone_De_Beauvoir – yes! thank you! :D

Oh, and to the rest of you who disapprove, watching you rip a dead chicken thigh to pieces with your teeth is much more gross than watching me quietly lick my plate. :)

gailcalled's avatar

@NaturallyMe: You’d be more comfortable watching someone rip a live chicken thigh to pieces?

Brian1946's avatar

I prefer to use bread but if there isn’t any available, I have no problem licking my plate or bowl clean.
I have no problem with anyone else unobtrusively licking their utensils clean either.

NaturallyMe's avatar

@gailcalled – uhhhhhh…..very funny. :P

YARNLADY's avatar

In the privacy of our home, we do, but I wouldn’t do it in front of non-family.

Aster's avatar

I am in a state of shock. I have seen ONE PERSON licking her plate in my LIFE-at my house-and I could not believe my eyes. She is so refined and proper as were her parents.
I have seen men licking their fingers at restaurants eating ribs. I’ve seen people push food onto their fork with their fingers. But to equate this with eating like a dog is…I don’t know.
The best word for this is GROSS. No Second Date.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Aster I mean really…when one is ‘refined and proper’...and is described that way by others…I ain’t dating them for sure.

Brian1946's avatar

Now that I think of it, none of the Thai or Chinese places we go to have bread; if I had enough appetite after I ate everything I could with my utensils, then I’d discreetly indulge and my wife would too.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Brian1946 That is why carryout was invented.

Aster's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir You would refuse to date a refined person. OK To each his own, Simone. In your favor, refined gentlemen are few and far between. Lots of slobs out there that break beercans over their foreheads and have 3 teeth. You could actually have your pick. Enjoy!

NaturallyMe's avatar

@Aster – i find eating dead flesh way more gross than finishing one’s food on a plate. Plus, i see no reason to waste a good sauce, seriously now. And also, i never said i do this in public, purely because i’m still concerned about other’s opinion of me (not that it should matter actually.) And indeed, i could never go on a date again with someone who is such an excissively mannered prude, haha.

Facade's avatar

@Aster You do know that there is a lot of room between being so refined and proper that seeing someone lick their fingers is abhorrent and crushing beer cans on one’s head right? I hate when people jump to extremes. Find another way to prove your argument. And if you can’t, take that as a hint.

Aster's avatar

It’s gross.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Aster Believe it or not, there are plenty of people in between the ‘refined and proper’ and ‘beer can grinding’. Furthermore, just because you consider something gross doesn’t mean it is.

Aster's avatar

Worse than gross. Uncivilized.

BoBo1946's avatar

Hey, please….not a word from anyone here! “I saw, with my own eyes, (like i borrowed someone else’s) @Aster licking her plate!” sure shocked me!

gailcalled's avatar

Reading this fast and wearing the wrong glasses, I read “kicking their plates.” “Why not,” I though. “Similar to pushing a large stone with a broom?”

Aster's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir BooBoo Thought he saw me doing this at The Ritz. He announced it on fluther yesterday. I informed him it was really YOU. But did you have to lick your face afterwards? That is just

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Aster I wouldn’t be caught dead at the Ritz. No thanks.

Aster's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Simone! I meant Bubba Ritz’s Hotdog stand. . Jeesh. Everyone and their DOG licks their plate at that dump.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Aster Right, I don’t eat hot dogs or fast food.

Kardamom's avatar

There are lots of things that you can do in private that you just don’t do in public because it is unsightly and gross. My cousin just Facebooked me yesterday about a man she saw in Starbucks clipping his toenails and letting the cuttings fall onto the floor. Disgusting! But totally normal in the privacy of one’s own home/company. If you want to use up the extra sauce, use bread. If you don’t have any bread, try using a paper towel for cleanup, that’s what they’re for.

A good resource for learning about manners (table manners and everything else) is Letitia Baldrige. You might be interested in her new book “New Manners for New Times, A Complete Guide to Etiquette.” Here’s a link to the book at Amazon:

NaturallyMe's avatar

@Kardamom No thanks, not interested, i know about etiquette, seeing as though i only do this at home, as mentioned above. Paper towels are not an option – the point of licking up the sauce is because it’s tasty, not because you’re trying to clean the plate. Plus not everybody eats bread, it’s fattening when on diet, most often not healthy, and most importantly not always available.

Kardamom's avatar

Not sure why you bothered to ask this question at all then, since you claim that you only do this at home and no one is going to see you anyway and no one will care whether or not you’re a slob.

rooeytoo's avatar

It’s not as bad as licking your butt the way my dogs do, heheheh!

NaturallyMe's avatar

@Kardamom Licking a plate is not being a slob, is finishing your food, and it’s a tad ridiculous that society has made it a taboo to do so. I asked this question because i wanted other’s opinions on whether they do it and where.

Kardamom's avatar

Licking your plate is definitely one of the things that will get you pegged as a slob, it’s disgusting, but not illegal, so go ahead and do it, but know that lots of people will think you are a slob and don’t have proper manners. You can also pick your nose and scratch your behind or dig out ear wax, not illegal, but gross. And since you are doing it in private, it doesn’t matter what you do.

NaturallyMe's avatar

@Kardamom Licking your spoon is not disgusting i bet, but licking your plate is? Pffft. It’s the same thing. Ripping a chicken limb to pieces with your teeth (quite savage isn’t it? Nevermind a slob) while holding it in your hands is not gross i bet, but quietly licking your plate is? See what i mean by this licking your plate taboo being ridiculous when compared to other supposedly socially acceptable eating habits? I can name many. It’s acceptable too for people to be smoking around someone else’s food, how gross is that? A huge lack of manners there for sure. Slurping marrow from a bone can sound quite disgusting too, yet it’s acceptable.
But nevertheless, you’ve given your opinion, although there was no reason to call me a slob.

Aster's avatar

I like to lick off leftover sauces from all my friends’ plates at the table, too. Then I just stack them in front of me; makes it easier on whomever cleans the tables. I belch, then we leave.

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