Why You'll Never Need A Fork To Eat Mussels Ever Again

Ironically, eating mussels can be quite the workout. While they don't require too much muscle, a bit of handiwork tends to be involved as you navigate a pot of the tasty shellfish. Technically, the proper way to eat mussels is by removing them from their shells with a fork, but that's generally for formal settings. If you're not at a nice dinner, you have the option to nix the silverware and slurp the crustacean and its juice right off the shell. While we don't disagree, we're here to propose a compromise between the two. A little party trick, if you will, proposed by none other than Dominque Ansel, the prized pastry chef of Cronut® fame.

In a video he posted to his Instagram in 2018, Ansel introduces an efficient and resourceful way to separate the meat from the shell. The secret lies with the mussel itself. It seems the French agree, as Ansel says he's been doing it this way "for as long as [he can] remember." According to lifestyle blog Cedar & Rush — and many others — if you want to eat mussels like a Parisian, you must find that first "inaugural mussel," and deem it your utensil for the rest of the meal.

Mussel as utensil as tong

Essentially, what you want to do when eating mussels is find that first shell that will act as a pair of tongs to help separate the good stuff from the rest of the scrumptious shells. It's pretty intuitive, as Dominique Ansel's Instagram video demonstrates. You fashion your utensil mussel, then identify your next morsel of a target. Approaching your new mussel, pinch the two ends of the shell together like a clamp and pull apart the meat.

Then you dip it in whatever savory liquid it's being served in (we like to make mussels in a dry white wine broth), and move on to the next until you've cleaned your plate.

Ansel explains in the caption of his post: "For as long as I remember, I've used an empty shell as pinchers to take out the mussels. So much more efficient than a fork. More control, and one less utensil to wash." He's exactly right. The "French Method" — or now, the "Ansel Method" — is much more efficient and resourceful, and plus, it also looks cool. While it isn't his claim to fame, Ansel continues to show us that food can be fun, functional, and tasty all at once. It's sure to be a conversation starter the next time you have a meal with a friend. Of course, as soon as you start eating mussels this way, it becomes obvious and you won't be able to imagine why you were using the fork in the first place.