DEAR MISS MANNERS: Edible dinnerware seems to be newly popular, and I am not sure how to handle it. When I ordered clam chowder, it was served in a hollowed-out mini loaf of sourdough bread.
Do I assume that the establishment has run out of regular bowls and not eat the bowl? Which is what I did, as there was sourdough bread served on the side. Digging into the empty bowl at the table did not seem quite proper.
GENTLE READER: You will forgive Miss Manners for the patient smile she develops when told of a modern trend. In medieval times, trenchers, flat rounds of bread, were used as plates. The custom was to give them to the poor after the meal when they (the bread, not the poor) were soaked with juices.
Nowadays, this would not be considered an attractive (or sanitary) form of philanthropy. However, it is reasonable to assume that a trendy restaurant has no intention of washing and reusing your edible soup bowl. You may therefore eat it, or not, as you wish.
Miss Manners shares your confusion at the redundancy of serving bread on the side, but perhaps the restaurant is trying to accommodate both those who like their bread soggy and those who do not.