Taking or Leaving the Leftovers?!


Last year, Renee hosted a huge Thanksgiving dinner for all of her friends who were staying local.  She and her hubby cooked a giant turkey, two kinds of stuffing and their famous sweet potatoes.  But with a guest list of over 30 adults and kids, Renee asked every family to contribute a crowd-pleasing side dish or dessert.  People happily went all out cooking up their Thanksgiving specialties.  The food was delicious, and the holiday was a total success.

Naturally, there were leftovers, but not enough to send everyone home with a doggy bag.  As some of Renee’s friends began helping to clear the plates and get the dishes started, most everyone said they’d stop by over the weekend to pick up their serving platters and containers.  However, when Renee’s friend Shelli started packing up her kids, she also packed up her casserole dish that still held some of the delicious mac & cheese that she had made for the event.  A little surprised that Shelli didn’t leave the leftovers, Renee realized she didn’t actually know the proper etiquette when it comes to a holiday potluck.

So, what would you do? When you want your serving dish back right away, do you leave the leftovers with your host, or take it all with you?  Tell us what you think!

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6 Responses to “Taking or Leaving the Leftovers?!”

  1. Linda says:

    For me, it was the kid factor (and I’m not all that child-friendly!).

    It could be their favorite dish; e.g. the only one they’ll always eat, or perhaps the friend was cash-strapped and saw this as an extra meal for her family.

    Granted, I would have checked with the host first; “is it okay that I take home the mac ‘n cheese? The kids love it.”

    In other pot-luck situtations, I do think it’s okay to let people take their own stuff home that night, if for no other reason than to save the host clean up time. Communication is key; be sure to set up the ground rules for the “aftermath” when you request dishes or agree to bring one.

  2. Wendy says:

    I don’t think it’s an issue. It’s mac and cheese and her kids will eat it. There will also be one less dish to wash. If people chose to leave what they brought, then that’s okay too. This situation sounds like more of a potluck scenario. There are so many more problems to be concerned about.

  3. Karen says:

    You always leave the leftovers. It is soooo tacky to take them home. Ask the hostess for a container to put the remaining leftovers in and LEAVE them. If your dish hasn’t yet been washed, wash it yourself and take the dish home empty… unless the hostess offers you something.

  4. carol says:

    If you brought a bottle of wine and there was some left over, would you take it home? I don’t think so. The same goes for a side dish, dessert or whatever else you bring for your host. I’m sure there was a tupperware or other container in which the leftover food could have been put.

  5. Leeann says:

    I think if she wanted some for home she should have set it aside for her family before she packed it for the potluck. It sounds to me like the guest didn’t want to spend the time cleaning it up which is why she made the exit. I think it would have been less tacky if the friend asked if it was a problem to take it home for the kids, then this wouldn’t come up as a dilemma because the air has been cleared. I guess you can say I’m on the fence with this one.

  6. Diana says:

    A few of my friends insist that we take them home! They don’t want the temptation to nibble on the leftovers or to have more stuff accumulate in their fridge so they practically shove everyones dish back in their hands! I don’t think it’s tacky at all to take them home especially when all the guest who wanted a to go plate has made one. It depends on the people involved and the situation.

Any Thoughts?

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