1. 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.

    • Rebecca

      Ahhhhh….someone who thinks like me! I’m not crazy! LOL I don’t care if someone wants to “take a plate” for later…it’s a compliment that they enjoyed the food. But, four or five plates BEFORE the party is even over…and bringing your own take-out containers?? I feel that it is disrespectful to the host/hostess.

  2. China Millman

    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.

  3. Rae Bates

    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.

  4. L. Akillian

    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.

  5. Elle

    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.

  6. bruce gant

    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

      “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.

  7. carupatch

    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.

  8. WILL R.

    We have many potluck functions to raise funds,there is an individual who brings his own containers,ziplock bags,and a bag close enough to an overnight bag where he stacks food to take home.yet he does not bring any thing to support,or offer any monetary help in tip jar to those who spent time to prepare and bring food.what signs can we put up to hinder this type of behavior?

    • Lori C

      Will R, Who knows this man? Is he a member of the public coming to support your potluck fundraiser? It appears this man for some reason is needing free food. A lot of free food. Find out who this person is and try to find out his living situation. If this man needs social services help, please find someone to help this man. If you find out he is gainfully employed with a roof over his head, ask him why he is coming to your fundraiser, taking a lot of food out of the venue and not donating to the cause. Regardless, ask him to leave a never come back. Get the police involved if necessary.

    • Elizabeth

      You might solve this by having a rule/posting a sign to the effect that only contributors may take food, and that each person is allowed only one plate to start with. No taking leftovers until the end of the event, or something to that effect. However, this guy sounds like such a freeloader, I’m surprised someone hasn’t told him off already. This is not a person operating by society’s rules – he is taking advantage – and unless he is someone important who you must take care not to offend, I would tell him to scram.

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