Poll 09: Leftovers – Who Gets Them?

by EPI Staff on November 9, 2009

Often friends and families gather during the holidays to share good food and good times.

What should you do with the leftovers?

Offer to leave it for your hosts. (75%, 362 Votes)

Ask how people want to share the remainder. (21%, 102 Votes)

Bring it home. (4%, 18 Votes)

Total Voters: 482

Please feel free to expand on this poll in the comments section below.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Jay Remer November 9, 2009 at 11:03 am

Interesting question, I recently wrote my weekly column on Potluck Etiquette (http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/salon/article/848602), but never thought of that situation. Sharing around the holidays is a wonderful way to strengthen bonds of friendship. Happy Holidays!


Crystal Rockwood November 9, 2009 at 11:05 am

I love throwing parties and the question of leftovers is a good one. It also raises the question about people who automatically assume that ALL food is meant to be packed and ferried away even before the party has finished. I’ve had guests who went in the kitchen, found the Saran wrap and began wrapping up large plates of food for their families, saying, “I know you and your husband can’t eat all this so we are helping you not to waste food.” How “thoughtful,” but not so kind to the people who had not shown up yet not to mention this is rude on other levels. I have some friends that intentionally double all dishes because their family and friends expect to leave loaded up with leftovers. Personally, I don’t think a hostess need kill herself by cooking for 20 when 10 are invited. If there are leftovers in a potluck I always ask the hosts if they would like the remainder and if not, offer some to others or just leave with the dish.


China Millman November 9, 2009 at 12:27 pm

It depends on the number of guests/amount of leftovers. If there’s a manageable amount, offer to leave it for the hosts; if it’s a lot of food, the hosts might take it upon themselves to suggest that everyone take a bit home.


Rae Bates November 9, 2009 at 3:20 pm

I attend a lot of potlucks (or carry-ins, as they’re known here). Most of the time people take home their own leftovers. Occasionally someone will make a plate for someone who couldn’t attend, but that’s rare. I usually offer to leave at least part for the host, especially if I’ve brought one of his/her favorites.


L. Akillian November 10, 2009 at 3:46 am

Personally, I am offended if a hostess sends my offering back home with me. I also think that it is bad manners for a guest to take back the leftovers of what they brought.


Elle November 10, 2009 at 6:18 am

A few years ago when several cousins were all in college, they would frequently leaves Thanksgiving with enough food to last them the rest of the weekend and each plate had some of everything. In general with family whoever is most “in need” (like the younger generation who is in school/just starting their household) is given priority then everyone else divides up what they want. The hosts usually still end up with plenty of food themselves.


bruce gant April 12, 2010 at 9:33 am

I just hosted a 40th b-day party where I rented a large venue and had bands play. I provided a lot of the food and drink. At the end of the night a couple brought HUGE mixing bowls and started loading food into them ..we said they coulsd take a plate home but they brought 2 frikin huge bowls and went crazy IM SOOOO PISSED..AND IT WAS A GOOD FRIEND THAT DID IT!!


Graceandhonor April 15, 2010 at 6:31 am

“I’m glad you enjoyed the food, but please restrict your doggy bag to one serving each. There are others who will want some.” I’d be tempted to take the spoons from them, too.


carupatch December 27, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Personally, if I TAKE a dish to pass; at the end of the meal, offer the leftover to the host(s). If they wish to keep it then they can either put it in one of their own dishes to store, or offer to return the empty dish it came in (cleaned of course!)
My pet peeve is when we host a party, provide all the food AND drink ($$$), and the guests (family members) decide to load up on any and all they can take when they leave (plus for members that did not attend.)
My mother always held the family gatherings. We could eat all we wanted while we were there, 1sts, 2nds, 3rds, whatever. We did NOT take food home WITH us. The only exception was the dessert. We were so stuffed from the main meal, there was always plenty of pie to take home.


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