You know when you have that irresistible saucy goodness on your plate at the end of a meal that makes you want to seriously consider licking your plate in public? Well the Italians have come up with a great solution for that. It’s called la scarpetta.
Fare la scarpetta, roughly translated as “to do the little shoe,” is the act of using a small piece of bread to mop up the wonderful sauce on your plate that you cannot possibly leave behind. While the practice is enormously popular all over Italy, the origins of this sometimes inappropriate, absolutely satisfying table manner, are mostly unknown today.
Why the “little shoe”? Italians are visual when it comes to language – some say the little piece of bread, being dipped and dragged through the sauce on the plate with fingers takes on the concave form of a shoe.
(Source: Under the Tuscan Gun and Emiko Davies Blog)