How do you eat mussels? Do you expect yours to come with a fork, so you can stab them and detach them from their shells before eating them? I did — until I saw a post on Dominique Ansel’s Instagram feed that, it’s not an overstatement to say, has changed my entire outlook on eating, and life.
That is because the famed pastry chef behind the Cronut, frozen s’mores, and other highly inventive desserts eats his mussels not with a fork, or even another man-made utensil, but instead plucks mussels with … an empty mussel shell. Watch:
In the caption for the video, Ansel writes, “For as long as I remember, I’ve used an empty shell as pinchers to take out the mussels.” He continues: “So much more efficient than a fork. More control, and one less utensil to wash.”
When news of Ansel’s approach hit Grub’s Slack channel, the team was split: Some members also employ this method and swear that it is, indeed, superior. Others responded with variations on “Whaaa?”
So, is this old news? Is it French? Who did it first? WikiHow, arguably the authority on how to do even the most basic things in life, says that if dining in a nice American restaurant, use a fork. But if you’re “eating mussels casually,” using the mussel shell as pinchers is okay. That’s apparently what they’ve long done in France.