How Do You Eat French Onion Soup?

Do you know how hungry you get searching for pictures of French onion soup? via Wikimedia Commons

Dear Uncommon Courtesy,

How does one eat French Onion Soup (I mean the real stuff with bread soaking inside and a thick layer of ooey gooey stringy cheese on top) without looking like an ill-mannered heathen?


Soupless in Seattle

Official Etiquette:

Peggy Posts suggests using a knife to cut the cheese against the side of the bowl and then using the knife and spoon to get all the bits onto the spoon and into your mouth.

Our Take:

Victoria So soup!

Jaya:  Soup! I love soup!

Victoria: Me too and I especially love French onion soup, so I looked it up and Peggy Post suggest using a knife and a spoon to eat it, so you can cut the cheese as you go. Personally, I think a spoon is sufficient and you just twirl the cheese like spaghetti

Jaya:  That seems…complicated. The knife thing.

Victoria:  Yeah

Jaya:  Knives do not belong in soup. I like using the spoon to cut the cheese against the side.

Victoria Yep. It would be cool if there were special french onion soup spoons where they were kind of pointy.

Jaya:  Also some foods I think people need to accept will never be polite.

Victoria: Haha yeah, I mean its sort of hearty peasanty food, so does it really belong somewhere where you can’t have some cheese trailing from your mouth to your spoon?

Jaya:  Exactly! Do not serve complicated foods and get mean when people are sloppy with them (looking at you, any host who serves corn on the cob).

Victoria Hahah, I will serve you French onion soup sometime and you can be as messy as you wish. Also, I was surprised that there was so much French onion soup available in Paris- I had it in Paris for Thanksgiving one year (I’m trying to tie this into Thanksgiving since it is coming up).

Jaya:  Ooooooh that sounds delicious.

Victoria Also etiquette related, French onion soup is one of those things that has special bowls- like can you make it without the proper bowl? With the handle thingy? I mean, I do, but I think it tastes better with the special bowl.

Jaya:  Oh yeah, at least with a stone crock like that. You can use ramekins too.

Victoria I just use my normal bowls.

Victoria: I’m getting you French onion soup bowls for your wedding, I just decided.

Jaya:  I will gladly accept those.


2 thoughts on “How Do You Eat French Onion Soup?

  1. Ok Everybody,
    Very cute with the comments, but seems like you all avoded the Elephant in the soup….the crouton…the bread UNDER the cheeze that, the minute you press on it (say with a knife, fork, spoon or chop stick) acts like a plunger or piston and causes the soup to overflow the bowl. Press to fast or hard and it’s in your fave or lap. So, let’s get serious here and find a solution!!! Uou can do this…somebody…please.

    • The problem with eating onion soup is not the soup but rather the serving bowl. Sure, chef’s love to use small, cute (professional?) bowls but a mess is guaranteed as is you becoming the ‘table clown’. I serve onion soup in a spaghetti bowl. The deep center holds the soup, bread and cheese (broiled) and the rim gives a space to cut the bread and the cheese. Caution guests to not press down too hard on the rim and cause a splash. Voila! No long stringy cheese tendrils hanging from mouth/face, focus is on eating onion soup not elbow twisting, visibly painful contortions. Calm reigns. Compliments abound. Guests praise me (including a visiting chef) and the rim is a great place to provide 2 – 4 additional bread slices. Bon appetite!

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