Dinner guests ask for leftovers to take home...

claire_de_lunaJune 6, 2006

Have you ever had this happen? We fixed ribs for some friends we invited over, whom we hadn't seen in a very long time. I remembering having dinner at their home a couple of times (not recently) but never going home with leftovers. The ribs were five hours in the making, served with corn on the cob, baked beans and coleslaw. (There was dessert as well.) They stayed for two and a half hours (we were hoping for more time with them) and when dinner was done, they had to leave. Not before asking for some of those ribs to take home...

I have often shared dessert with guests, especially when there's a lot of it, but not typically the main course. (Unless it's parents or someone elderly who doesn't cook any more.) Usually they don't tend to eat and run!

Has this ever happened to you?

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No, but I'd take it as a compliment.

I almost always ask family and close friends if they want to take anything home.

Come to think of it, I haven't asked myself, but if offered , I often take home some of the leftover food from other people's houses too (All the courses included not just dessert). I find it's often one of the foods we've commented on.

I doubt it's proper ettiquette to ask but probably somewhat harmless unless you were really looking forward to the leftovers and didn't know how to say no.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2006 at 2:41PM
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Sounds like you went to a lot of trouble and they just ate and ran. I agree that they shouldn't have asked for leftovers. I hope they left some for you to enjoy the next day. I usually ask if anyone wants leftovers, especially dessert, which we don't normally have around. But often, I'll cook a lot for a party, hoping for leftovers (and no cooking) for the next day or so while I'm busy cleaning up.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2006 at 4:11PM
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Rude!! If they had eaten nothing they should not have asked for leftovers! But to eat dinner and ask for the next day's meal too is beyond the pall!
They would not get another invitation to my house soon.
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 6, 2006 at 11:09PM
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What nerve! I can't imagine someone doing that :-o

    Bookmark   June 6, 2006 at 11:35PM
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I will say I was...rather surprised. I'm not inclined to do it again anytime soon (or later).

I just feel badly now that I have a different point of view...

    Bookmark   June 6, 2006 at 11:56PM
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That was rude. Miss Manners would probably have a snappy retort for you to decline such a request, but I always cave. I'm not good at no.

Taking leftovers from any course that are offered is perfectly acceptable, but you can't demand them. Where do people come up with such ideas?

Here is a link that might be useful: craftfetish blog

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 1:16PM
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I think that I, like carla, would be flattered. I am guessing that that is what your guests intended.

I think this is one of those things that depends on the relationship. On another thread, someone was annoyed that her sister-in-law would lie down on her couch. I didn't understand what the big deal was. I would hate to think that my sister-in-law didn't feel at home enough at my house to stretch out on the couch. I have a feeling that if she felt closer to her sister-in-law, she wouldn't have thought a thing of it.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 11:26PM
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I can see on the one hand where it can be flattering, but I have to agree that it's kinda nervy. If I were quick thinking enough in a situation like this where I really didn't want all my leftovers walking out the door, I'd say, sure! Let me make you a plate. Then you have control over how much she takes.

I agree with desserts, I'm usually more than happy to share the wealth because I sure don't need all those sweets hanging around, but especially if they eat and run, main course/sides should only be taken home by the guests if the hosts offer.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 5:04PM
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I am sometimes served more food than I can eat. When I cannot finish what has been served to me, such as a nice steak, rib, etc.. I might ask if I can take it home, instead of the hostess throwing it out. I would never ask for anymore than what I was served. Is this tacky? mary

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 7:09PM
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IMO it is very rude for guests to ask to take home leftovers, actually I can't even imagine it. I often offer to send people home with leftovers but that is my perogative as the hostess. Who knows I may have a use for them myself.

One exception is very close family members. My niece, nephew, and son, all in college, will often beg for leftovers. Then again I had already planned for that and they know it!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2006 at 2:13PM
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I have an ex SIL that used to get very upset when DB would ask for my leftovers. She would say that she just made the dish last week and he didn't want it so why take mine home?

I have often had singles to dinner (mostly male) and always have a few spare disposable containers on hand. I do offer to pack a care package -- except for family, I have never had anyone ask. In fact my 22 yr old daughter has frequently asked if she could take something or another to her boyfriend's mother so she could try it. I always say "yes, but I'd really like for her to try it fresh, why don't you invite her over?"

As for your visitors, did you know at the start of the evening that they would be leaving so soon or was it a surprise when they stood up and said goodbye? As for asking for the ribs, be positive, take it as a compliment.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 1:38PM
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It has happened to me and it totally annoyed me. I am having a Christmas party and I am going to make sure everyone knows the left overs are MINE!

I had guest take a bottle of GIN once!!!!!!


    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 7:27AM
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I'd take it as a compliment, too, but I wouldn't have a problem saying, "Sorry, no," if I had plans for the leftovers. I couldn't get mad at someone for asking.

I've never had this happen but now it probably will. :-)

Cheers, from

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 2:11PM
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Wow, it never ceases to amaze me the audacity of people! I would be flattered if someone complimented me on my ribs and asked me for the recipe, but not if they asked me for the leftovers. It's one thing to be offered the leftovers, but to ask...absolutely not....in my book that is extremely rude.

This posting got me to thinking about past dinner parties and that I've had, and I can remember several occassions where people have brought stuff into my home, be it a cake, bottle of wine, beer, whatever....and they took the remainder with them when they left. When I go to someone's house, I always bring something, and when I leave, if the platter is not empty, I say something along the lines of "I'll come back _______(fill in the blank here, tomorrow, next week, whenever...) to pick up my platter." I would never ask for nor gather up to take home even the leftover food that I brought.....and I would absolutely never ask for leftovers that the hostess made.

Boy, I sure sound all high and mighty about this subject..lol...guess I must really like leftovers!

:) jiggreen

    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 11:50PM
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jiggreem - I am with you. When I take a dish to someone's home other than a family member, I purchase something appropriate from the party store to put same in since that way it really doesn't matter if I get the dish back or not. I think it is rude to take the remainder of something that you brought to someone's party regardless whether its food,liquor or whatever.

However, my family is another matter. DMIL always asks for a care package and I am glad to make her one. She lives alone and enjoys my cooking :-) so its really a compliment. I always package up the remains from a party to send home if I can, depending on the guest list since I really don't want to eat left over party food. For a formal dinner party I would never send any food with anybody and would be extremely taken back if someone was bold enough to ask.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 8:42AM
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I think labmomma hit it on the head. The relationship makes all the difference. It's one thing to ask your mom or best friend if you can have some of the LOs; another thing to ask your boss! Once our best friends had the gang over and made the yummiest stew. I said it was so good I couldn't stand it, and so could I please have the leftovers? All of it? She said "No way! That's MY lunch tomorrow!" We both loved it. We both understood that it was a compliment to her cooking and to the intimacy of our friendship. But you sure couldn't have that conversation with just anyone; in most contexts, we both would have been rude, but in this one, we were both loving. A little farther on the continuum is close friends or family who eat together often and simply do whatever makes sense (are the guests having a meeting tomorrow whose participants will eat the leftover dip that would otherwise probably not get eaten? Are the hosts going out of town and going to have to toss everything if no one takes it? Is there just too much leftover cake for the hosts' family, who are dieting anyway?) or who have all pitched in to the meal in the first place. We often split up the leftovers in those situations. Of course, the question isn't whether it's okay to take leftovers, but whether it's okay to ask. But I still think that there are circumstances that make it acceptable and even kind of nice.

So there is no one-size-fits-all rule, in my opinion. It just depends on so many things. The point is, I think it's a mistake to proclaim that it is always rude. And even when it is inappropriate, I think that in my own case, I would be so flattered that I wouldn't think ill of the person.

(If you have already seen the Borat movie, imagine how HE would ask for the leftovers! Probably for the table, too.)

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 11:54AM
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At Thanksgiving my Mom always divides the leftovers up between her and Dad, my sisters family and mine. So we all go home with a little bit of everything. But we are family.

I went to an old co-workers house for dinner not too long ago, and his wife handed me a bag with all of the leftovers when I left. I was floored. I had never heard of the hostess sending all the leftovers home with the guest.


    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 2:26PM
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