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December 30, 2008



As a huge fan of olive oil and "balsamic" vinegar (or olive oil and lemon) for bread, I feel obligated to speak up for our camp. I find butter too heavy and intense for most breads, and much prefer a quick olive oil dip. I am also aware that a lot of pretentious people ask for olive oil and vinegar for their bread since it seems to have gotten trendy, but I was in fact raised in a region where butter was not available, so butter on bread seems very weird and unnatural to me.

Incidentally, it's molasses. (In To Kill a Mockingbird.)

Joe Fish

While I adore butter on bread, I, too, was raised in a culture where it was a curiosity. Olive oil (usually with black pepper) was the bread-greasening mainstay.

I'm with you on the vinegar, though. Aside from not having any cultural context, vinegar should appear only where appropriate, put into intentional balance in a dish, not thrown around like a condiment.

And let's face it, the kind of balsamic vinegar a place might put out for bread is inedible.

But like you said, when Dan Akroyd puts out his water glass for champagne, you pour it.


Thank you so much, Haddock, for bringing up this weird custom and its spread, around these parts. I have never been offered olive oil with bread in Italy (or in Italian homes in America), and certainly never saw vinegar used with it, anywhere. It's beyond understanding. One exception: my Italian father-in-law's final swipe of his salad plate with a crust of good bread to get every drop of the dressing made from olive oil and his homemade wine vinegar. That I can understand.

I admire your restraint at the Bistro!


I'll confess that I enjoy (salted) olive oil on good crusty (preferably day-old) bread.

But I suspect the current trend stemmed from the revelation that olive oil is so much *healthier* than bread. :)

I imagine a lot of comments and requests from diners require self-restraint on your part and I'm with kudzu... I admire that.

bee in guelph

I have Greek Cypriot friends who use olive oil, dark vinegar (red wine) and freshly ground corianderseed to dip bread fingers. Remember, it must be freshly ground...

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