Putting a little ramekin next to a bowl of olives for discarded pits has long been “the move,” but an empty ramekin requires an explanation. Rather than tell every person at the table or (very small) gathering (of your immediate family) that the little bowl is “for the olive pits,” simply eat an olive and put the pit in the empty pit receptacle, signifying its use without the need for words.
The little manoeuvre not only clarifies what the otherwise pristine ramekin is for, it breaks the ice on the olives, so to speak. No one has to do the awkward “Oh…is this…for the pits? It’s so clean! I didn’t wan’t to…oh, ok,” song and dance, and no one has to feel weird about being the first person to place something that has been in their mouth into a clean dish.
This strategy will probably be more useful once we’re free to have bustling parties with loads of guests again — so file it away if you must — but it can work with your family, children (which are part of your family, I’ve heard), roommates, significant other(s), or anyone else you might share a cheese plate, charcuterie board, or bowl of olives with.
Also, feel free to branch out from olives. The same strategy can be used for cherries pits, pistachio shells, or anything else that generates a pile of organic refuse as you eat it. You can even use one bowl for all of your shells and pits; just make sure to put one of each in the refuse ramekin before setting it out. We wouldn’t want anyone to get confused.
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