Although I can be quite a picky eater, one thing I love about going to my family dinners or large family functions is taking home leftovers.
My parents have quite a large amount of Tupperware and fill them up with leftovers from a party. Like many cultures, including my own, having an abundance of food and eating with the family is a big deal. At each party, all the food is laid out buffet style, with several different kinds of main dishes, salads, sides and desserts. Everyone is expected to have almost two full servings of food. The remaining food almost never goes to waste. If the gathering is just the immediate family, my sister and I will each take home several plastic containers (often empty yogurt, margarine and sour cream containers) of food. If the gathering is larger, my parents will bust out the large Ziploc freezer bags, fill them with food and give them to them guests before they leave. I guess you could say they give out food loot bags or doggy bags.
Although my parents could just easily keep the food for themselves, they would rather re-distribute them to the guests. It’s way too much food to eat for just the two of them and I’m sure they’d rather not have to eat that ham for the next five days. If you ask me, it’s a win-win situation. They get rid of the excess food and I don’t have to cook or grocery shop for the next few days. I save some time and money and I get have another helping of a certain dish I enjoyed eating so much at the party.
While taking home leftovers from family events is quite common, taking home leftovers from catered events such as weddings is not. Some people may even consider it tacky. I certainly wouldn’t. Most of the weddings I have been to, have served way more food than I can eat, plus the seafood buffet, plus the dessert buffet.
I know that because a wedding a very special occasion, most of the times, especially if it is in a banquet hall, there is an abundance of food. The couple wants the guests to enjoy themselves and be well fed. There have only been a few weddings I’ve attended that have had actually great tasting food. Most of the times, the meat was dry and the pasta tasted like something out of my high school cafeteria.
Bad tasting food aside, some banquet halls and catering businesses may have some policies about preventing guests from taking food home if it is served buffet style, due to food safety concerns or liability concerns. However, I wouldn’t see a problem with guests taking home some desserts if take out containers were provided. I had recently attended a baptism reception in a restaurant where the grandparents provided takeout containers for us to take home some desserts.
I have only worked at a banquet hall serving food to guests at a wedding one time in my life. We weren’t allowed to take food home, however we were allowed to eat the leftovers after it had been served to the guests. If the food was not served buffet style and the leftovers were put in the fridge soon after, I don’t see why the employees, guests or even the bride and groom can’t bring the food home. After all, people bring home food from restaurants all the time. Sure it may create more work for the employees, having to put the food into containers, but it prevents perfectly edible food from being thrown into the garbage!
I know this is not true for all banquet halls or catering companies, but I often hear about how some of them throw out all the uneaten food after the wedding. That’s SO MUCH food going to waste! Imagine how many hungry people it could feed. I often wonder why they don’t make arrangements to either deliver the food or have someone pick up the food to take it to a local shelter. Surely, the added cost if there was any wouldn’t be too much. I’m sure the people there would appreciate the extra free food. I know I would.
Would you ever take leftover food home from a wedding or shower? Why or why not?
(In all honesty, I’d rather take home the food than the sometimes useless gift you get for attending the wedding).