Party Food With a Pit: Now What?

As we head into the heart of the summer barbecue season, here’s one of those perennially tricky etiquette situations we’re all going to have to confront: “How do you properly eat an olive with a seed in the middle—or a cherry—when you are at a party?” wrote a reader named MJ.

That’s actually a great question, MJ. There was a more formal way you did it in the old days, which probably involved chewing the olive and then putting a napkin up to your mouth to receive the pit. Nowadays, however, if you don’t have a napkin handy, I think it’s fine to discreetly put your hand up to your mouth to get the pit. Cup your hand to receive the pit and then put it into a bowl that has been set out for that purpose.  The main rule is never spit; always remove the pit discreetly. And do not shake hands with anyone if you have olive juice on yours.

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