The Clever Way Neapolitans Use Bread Heels

Though not everyone can agree on what to call the end of the loaf of bread, a good number of bread lovers might agree it's not exactly the most popular piece. According to Southern Living, some feel that the heels are for the birds and even reflect that sentiment in their terminology. They refer to the end bits as "duck bread" or "bird bread." Reddit has even gone so far as to bestow the honorable description, "a father's sacrifice," to a sandwich made with two heels of bread.

Though heel haters may be tempted to toss out this harder portion of bread, several recommendations for using these pieces have been proposed. Alternative ways to use bread butts have ranged from turning heels into bread crumbs for use in a future recipe to transforming bread heels into a sweet bread pudding for dessert (via The Kitchn). Of course, bread heels have their fans, and in Naples, residents have employed a pretty tasty-sounding tactic when consuming this underdog piece of the loaf for quite some time.

Italy serves us a saucy sandwich in bread heels

If you've ever been reluctantly stuck with a bread heel on your plate after being too slow to grab a softer slice, then it may be hard to imagine a family of members who prefer these crusty pieces. According to Visit Naples, that is precisely the situation when cuzzetiello is on the table. According to the site, cuzzetiello is coveted so much it has created "quarrels with cousins and siblings." But, what exactly is cuzzetiello?

Culinary Backstreets explains that cuzzetiello translates into something akin to "bread bowl sandwiches." It's the name given to a Neopolitan sandwich that is made from the "cozzetto," or heel, of a loaf of bread that has been hollowed out and filled with a variety of fillings like ragù sauce, meatballs, or eggplant parmesan. Steeped in history, cuzzetiello is traditionally made from a loaf of crunchy-crusted, homemade bread known as "pane cafone," according to La Cucina Italiana, and filled with ragù, creating the perfect setup for a little rivalry among siblings to land the desirable bread ends. As Giuseppe Manco told La Cucina Italiana, the cuzzetiello may even be good to the last bite as it also fosters another useful Italian tradition known as "scarpetta," or soaking up any leftover sauce with the bread.