Leave Platter

carla35December 17, 2008

Hi guys,

I'm going to a party in a couple days and I'm bringing an appetizer. I have a really cute platter I'd like to put it on... problem is I'll want to use the platter for the Holidays too. So, when I go to leave should I just take everything, leave the food on a different plate, or just leave it all?

Generally, I leave my stuff and just get my serving dish the next time I see the person, but in this case I won't see them soon after and it wouldn't be worth the time and drive to make an extra trip to get it back.

I kinda think it's tacky just taking it -- but I really don't know what the norm is. The other part of me kinda thinks the host would prefer me taking it rather than having to wash and track down ownership of each serving piece. This is the kind of party where almost everyone brings a dish (and it's like 30 people). How do you guys handle? Should I take it with me when I leave or just bring it on something else?

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It depends. If I'm leaving the party before most of the other guests, then I'd probably leave the food behind on a different plate. If I'm leaving toward the end of the party, I'd ask the hostess if she wants the leftovers, and if so, she can store them in her own container.

I host and attend potlucks a lot and IME that's how it works best.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2008 at 2:01PM
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I would put any remaining food on one of the hostess's plates, or a paper plate, when it's time to go, and take my plate home, to save the hosts the trouble of cleaning and returning it.

I would avoid the discussion about the leftovers and just leave them for the hosts. They may notice and tell you to take them (or whatever; we often split leftovers with our friends), but I wouldn't bring it up, especially if you aren't among the last ones to leave.

It's not really about the leftovers themselves, it's about drawing attention to the fact that you are leaving. It makes others feel like it's time to go and can bring the party to an end before the hosts wanted. It's like when a guest intending to be helpful jumps up from the table while the conversation is still going strong and starts clearing or even washing dishes -- I HATE that; even if people don't feel like maybe they should leave, it always changes the rhythm of the evening.

Even if others are leaving then, I wouldn't make any comment, because then everyone will start wanting to deal with their dishes and leftovers and the hosts will have to turn their attention to kitchen issues whether they want to right then or not (not to mention lose control of their own system of cleaning up and dealing with leftovers). Just discreetly move any remaining food to another plate and put yours into a plastic bag (i.e., don't start washing it then and there). If I were the hostess, I would really appreciate your doing it that way, with a minimum of fuss.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2008 at 3:38PM
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I trust this is pot luck and others will be bringing food as well?
If you are bringing an appetizer, won't you be through with that course before the party's over?
If you think you will leave before the party is over, then avoid all confusion and take the food on a different plate, so whatever you chose to do you won't make a stir about the table emptying your dish.
By all means take your platter when you are ready to leave if you bring the holiday one. I wouldn't even take any food from it....just pick it up and leave....believe me the hostess has enough to deal with besides worrying about one more bit of leftover food.
In re reading what I said...it's a bit confusing...LOL!
If you will be leaving early, take a plate you won't mind leaving....if you will pretty well stay until the end, just pick up your plate, leftovers and all and go...if the hostess is nearby when you take your plate, ask if she wants some.
But...in any case, if you have amde something really delicious, there won't be any leftovers!!
Linda c

    Bookmark   December 18, 2008 at 9:40AM
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Problem is I don't know how late I'll be staying -- kinda of depends on the party, but I shouldn't be leaving real early.

It's just a women's group big pot luck type party -- where everyone just brings a plate of something (I'm using the term appetizer very generally -- that's what they ask for, but generally people bring dips, cheeses, cookies, homemade chocolates, any nibble - it's just a hodgepog of stuff -- there's no dinner later). No matter how good the dish is, there's almost always some leftovers of everything -- there's just so many things since everyone brings something (there's like 30-40 things) and it's after dinner time.

I know this seems like there should be an easy answer, but I have this problem a lot. I always offer to bring things and generally people take me up on it so I never know how to take/get my dish back so to say. We go to a lot of parties that start after dinner and you just bring in your dish when you walk and set it with the all the others and people eat from it for the entire night. So, I sort of feel like an Indian giver if I take it too early -- just not sure when too early is.

I just didn't know if there was an ettiquette rule or a really right way to handle it. I am thinking maybe just plating a smaller amount -- like 8 cucumber sandwiches instead of 25 -or a small block of cheese and 10 crackers instead of 3 blocks and a box -- that may just be the answer.

Thanks for your comments, ideas and posts.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2008 at 12:34PM
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If everyone is bringing something....there is no need for everyone to bring enough for everyone.
I have in the past bought a plate in the dollar store that I consider as a "disposable"...I just walk out and leav e it. But sometimes the hostess returns it any how..:((
And I used to have a supply of "bought on sale" plates and bowls and platters that I would just say....and please keep the plate.
Either leave your dish with the food on it when you leave, if the party is still going strong, or take it to the kitchen and explain to the hostess that you need your dish, and does she have something to put the rest of the food on..
B UT the better part of manners would be to not take a dish that you MUST have back that night.
Again the $$ store has very nice decortaive plastic platters and bowls that you shouldn't mind leaving.
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 18, 2008 at 1:09PM
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there's almost always some leftovers of everything -- there's just so many things since everyone brings something (there's like 30-40 things)

Ok, so this is why I say if you're leaving toward the end of the party, ask the hostess before leaving your leftovers. As hostess, I really do not want 30-40 leftover items sitting on the table at the end of the party. It means that I have to either put them all away in plastic containers, and/or throw out a bunch of food which probably the person who made it would have been happy to keep. I see gellchom's point about not drawing attention the fact that you're leaving. That's why I say that you should ask the hostess only if it's at the end of the party. IME, as the party is drawing to a close, a lot of people are in the serving area dealing with their dishes and either taking them or figuring out what to do with the leftovers. It's really not like you'll be the only one I don't think. If you are, then yeah, leave the food with no additionatl comment. But as hostess, I usually want everyone to just take what they brought home if it's late enough in the party.

As I said, if it's early on in the party, then you should definitely leave the food. So in that case I like Linda's idea of bringing the food on a leave-behind plate like something from the dollar store. I know you said you're not sure when you'll be leaving, and I get the feeling you really want to serve on that particular plate. But I think you'd be better off just using something more "disposable".

    Bookmark   December 18, 2008 at 2:23PM
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Yeah, I often do just use dollar store plates and know what it's like to try to leave them behind, and they keep coming back - LOL. And, for this gathering that would work fine; I just have the cutest Christmas snowman platter I would love to use.

And for some other parties, the formality is such that I'd really like to use a silver or nicer tray. I have so many nice and unique serving dishes that I received as wedding presents, that it just seems like a waste not using them more often.

I'll really have to pay attention to what other people do - this party tends to end up being more like an evening open house - not every comes and goes at the same time at all - so I'll just have to secretly watch people as they are leaving! I think I'll just use my red dollar store platter for this time. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2008 at 5:14PM
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Lowspark - I cannot help but ask what is IME -

( after looking at med forms all day - all I can see is "independent medical evaluation")

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 7:36AM
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In My Experience

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 11:04AM
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Taking or leaving leftovers at a gathering may be a regional issue because the few times I have seen someone walk out with their leftovers they get a strange look. We just don't do it unless it is at a place that has been rented.

How I handle this is to put a smaller clear plate inside the dish and when I leave I just take the dish off my pretty platter and set it on the table. I have my platter, which if fairly clean and the food is still plated. I have also just taken an extra plate with me and not bothered the host for one of their own.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 3:45PM
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Just saw your question, columbus, and looks like colleen answered it. For future reference, here's a great website for looking up these kinds of things.

Here is a link that might be useful: Internet Slang

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 10:41AM
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Take your contribution on a platter that you don't need to leave with. You can find some really nice serving pieces at TJ Maxx or Marshalls at a decent price so your dish is actually a hostess gift as well. I've enjoyed receiving many pieces over the years brought to my home in this way.

I love the dollar store finds just as much as the more expensive pieces I've received. Whenever I use a gifted serving piece the next year, it always reminds me of the person who was so kind and thoughtful. Do whatever will fit your budget. I've recently seen some really neat things in the dollar stores in my area, although I don't know what it is that you are taking to the party. Another tip, when you see these types of serving pieces on sale, buy a couple to have on hand. I usually find at least a couple after the holidays and make use of them when attend a potluck party.

Have a happy holiday!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 5:33PM
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I host lots of pot lucks. Please take your plate, leave leftovers on a paper plate unless you are only going to be present for a few minutes. I am still hunting for the owner of the hard boiled egg plate with rabbits on from 1993's Easter hunt, and the owner of the very large ugly green platter from the 2004 bridge tournament. If you are leaving plates, put your name & phone number on the bottom with drafting tape. If its from the dollar store or garage sale & you don't care if you ever see it again--with drafting plate write "its yours, love mary" If you bought it with the intent to have it be a hostess gift, then on the bottom with drafting tape write, To Marge with love from bill and sally.
A hostess who is doing a pot luck has early amnesia for comments made when people come in--saying "we are givng you the platter with the couscous-eggplant terrine on it"

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 4:44PM
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