Are you a messy eater? Wear those stains with pride

It never fails: any time I wear a light-colored shirt while eating, I will splash tomato sauce, berries or chocolate sauce on it, creating an indelible stain. Dark colored clothing will get the same treatment in reverse, with a white sauce, yogurt, or something equally contrasting. When this happens, I attempt to discreetly daub the stain with a napkin and cold water, often creating a larger smear in the process. Instead of trying to hide these stains I should wear them with pride, says food critic Jay Rayner, who writes in praise of being a messy eater

spaghetti sauce

Rayner is as amazed as I am when he sees someone wearing a pristine white shirt that remains pristine throughout a lengthy meal. How can that be possible, he muses, while “I seem completely incapable of leaving a table without everyone being able to read, from the full Jackson Pollock across my chest, exactly what I’ve just had for my tea.” 

The explanation, he surmises, is not that he is incapable of being neat, but rather that he properly appreciates the art of eating. “The ones who manage not to spill everything down their shirts are obviously not doing food properly,” says Rayner. Remember his words the next time you hesitate to order the pasta with red sauce or that gooey chocolate dessert. Embrace the berry coulis stain and the curry spots. They are marks of a meal well eaten.

Photo of Spaghetti with winter tomato sauce (Spaghetti con sugo simplice di pomodori pelati) from The Guardian Cook Supplement by Rachel Roddy

Post a comment

One Comment

  • Jane  on  July 13, 2018

    This was a well-timed post. I was eating with a friend last night, identical meal and I managed to get a sauce stain (OK, maybe more than one) on my shirt and she was completely clean. I queried how this is so – we are using the same forks and eating the same food. Glad to hear it's because I'm appreciating the food more!

Seen anything interesting? Let us know & we'll share it!