Whether tis nobler to dredge or to shovel, that is the question… I am so fascinated by the fact they we, as Americans, use our eating utensils differently than almost everyone else in the world. As it was once very eloquently and matter-of-factly described to me by Riccardo, our very stylish Italian foodie friend, “You see, Americans shovel with their forks and Europeans use the dredging technique”.

Gasp. Even though the word dredge isn’t very pretty, it still sounded so much more attractive than SHOVELING. I couldn’t help but think about the hyperbole here…that Americans literally SHOVEL food into their mouths. It actually made me laugh out loud hysterically because I assumed he was making a joke when in actual fact, this is true-to-life lingo in the food/restaurant industry.  I was mortified.

Ok, so we shovel. So what. It’s taken me a lot of time to get my head around this dredging business. I remember the first time I really noticed that Richard used his utensils differently than me. And it genuinely bothered me. For some reason, in all of my previous travels abroad I hadn’t noticed how everyone was eating, but with Richard I took note and it irked me. One of those irky irks that you can’t let go. It was ridiculous of me, but I couldn’t even hold back from mentioning it one night when we were eating at Ristorante Max in Positano, one of the most charming and romantic places in the world. At the time, eating with your fork and knife, i.e. pushing food onto the back of your fork just seemed despicable to me. If you did that at our house growing up, you’d have been dismissed from the table. Alright, we weren’t worldy. If we were we’d probably be eating “Continental Style”, but we weren’t and we ate mainly with our fork only and with one hand in our lap, “American Style”. I was convinced that it must be the way everyone eats on Irish farms. Talk about ignorant. One day, after our romantic trip to Italy, I was back in the States having lunch with my gorgeous Aussie friend Vanessa, when I realized she was “dredging” as well. I asked her about it and she said everyone in Australia eats that way. Whew, it wasn’t just Irish farmers after all!  It was just me being……persnickety! (you can insert any number of expletives there, I’ve chosen to be kind to myself about it).

Now, I’d love to say that I gave it a rest after that, but it still bothered me to see Richard eating this way and for a couple of years I earnestly tried to train him off it because I really wanted Geoffrey to eat “American Style”. We’ve now struck a balance: He dredges, but onto the front of the fork. And I have begun to push food onto my fork with my knife. So now we SHREDGE and we’re even.

Do you shovel or do you dredge? I’d love to know, leave a comment below!

Mind Yourself,


P.S. As you can see, I’ve made some changes to the blog and made it into a full fledged .com site. I would like to start sharing some more of my favorite Irish tidbits with you which you will begin to find on the new pages listed on the right side. I hope you like the new look!

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