The Napkin Of Shame

Here’s a new piece of vocabulary that just entered the blogsphere, courtesy of the New York Times’ food critic, Frank Bruni.

The Napkin of Shame (n.): A napkin discreetly used by a server to cover the table where you (the sloppy eater) accidentally spilled sauce or wine.

Ah hell, let’s hear it in Bruni’s words…


The Napkin of Shame, as I have come to think of it, is part of a fancy-restaurant ritual I’ve never made peace with. The Napkin of Shame is what a server carries to a table on which a section of the cloth has been splashed with sauce or speckled with wine. A server unfurls the Napkin of Shame and stretches it over the soiled terrain, a bit of patchwork that makes the table look clean again. And, lying there, the Napkin of Shame amounts to a sign hung around the neck of the diner whose plot of tablecloth required it: here sits a Messy, Piggy Eater. (I’m all about uppercase today.)

So George Costanza-like. So brilliant.

Here’s a new piece of vocabulary that just entered the blogsphere, courtesy of the New York Times’ food critic, Frank Bruni.

The Napkin Of Shame