My father always uses a small piece of bread to gather and scoop up the sauce remaining on his plate. As a child, I was taught to do the same, out of religious respect for the food, magnified in my parents by their experience of wartime food scarcity.
The expression usually refers to the tomato sauce left on a bowl after eating a portion of pasta, but as a child I had to fare la scarpetta no matter what dish I had eaten. The family tradition is now carried on by my husband, to my father's delight.
Scarpetta means little shoe, like the one lost by Cinderella, and the connection with the action described by the expression is unknown to me. What is known, however, is that fare la scarpetta is not acceptable during a formal dinner.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the fare la scarpetta audio file [mp3].
[Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]
Buongiorno! How exciting to visit your site! I have been spending a great deal of time in IT and need all the help I can get with the language! Sometimes I have been known to use a bit of bread to help! Ciao~
Posted by: Jann | May 23, 2007 at 04:15 PM
Ciao Jann and thanks for visiting my blog: I am glad you like it.
Seeing you using a piece of bread to help, my father would say "Brava!"
Posted by: Simona Carini | May 23, 2007 at 06:11 PM
Really enjoyed your writing about polenta and gnocchi!
And I like your treatment of idiosyncratic and opinionated dictionary of Italian words related to food! A fun way to write in family, science, history and whatever but I guess that's the idiosyncratic part!
Posted by: MyKitchenInHalfCups | May 24, 2007 at 01:25 AM
Hello! Welcome to the food blogging world! I came here from Christine's blog. I look forward to reading more of your posts.
Paz (who plans on "fare la scarpetta" except a formal dinners from now on)
Posted by: Paz | May 24, 2007 at 03:13 AM
Che buona la scarpetta!
Benvenuta Simona. I found you through Christine Cooks and will visit often.
Posted by: anna maria | May 24, 2007 at 09:37 PM
Ciao Anna Maria.
I browsed your site and love the drawing on the home page. Thanks for visiting: I hope you come again.
Posted by: Simona Carini | May 25, 2007 at 10:57 AM