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Jan 2, 2008 11:46 AM

Odd condiment question

I've offen wondered what happens to the massive quantities of unused packets of condiments and such that get taken away from restaurant tables.....I guess i assume they get tossed, but part of me hopes that places aren't that wasteful. I'm not talking about stuff on plates and such, but bowls of untouched creamers and butters, untouched seafood sauce, dressing packets or tartar sauce and the like. I don't like sweet and sour sauce or seafood sauce for certain items nor do the friends who usually share appetizers requiring this stuff, and often even when we've asked, breaded mushrooms or beer battered shrimp will come along with five or six packets of S&S or seafood sauces, to which we immediatly ask for ranch or tartar or ketchup maybe...and the waiter usually goes off with it to nothing gets touched.

What do restaurants do with this stuff?

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  1. If it is a sealed packet, most will use it for the next order. If it is an open ramekin, it gets tossed whether you touch it or not.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mojoeater

      If it is an open ramekin, HOPEFULLY it gets tossed. 'Recycling' happens.

      1. re: babette feasts

        Yes, I worked in a place where that was pretty common -- and it wasn't an inexpensive place either.

        1. re: Miss Needle

, too

          it was the butter. I tended bar during lunch hour. Entrees would come out with rolls and a dish of butter...any unused butter would be "recycled" into the soup pots

          soooo disgusting...people at the bar smoking cigarettes and drinking all over those butter dishes

          I threw out as much as I could but the waitresses were butter nazis...I never order shrimp or lobster bisque without thinking of that place

    2. I stuff my pockets with the stuff, and bring it into work to kick things up as needed. Just the stuff in the packets, pouring shrimp sauce into your pocket is NOT advised.

      1. With the packets they're so cheap that it is often easier just to chuck it. Anything not sealed must be thrown out.

        1. I either stop them from giving me too many packets, or when I leave I hand them back. Another thing is to refuse them when the bring it out, or specifically say, please don't bring the ABC sauce with the meal.

          Now if it is in a bag, from a drive through, it goes into the fridge for a rainy day. But I can count on one hand how many packets I actually have in there.

          3 Replies
          1. re: danhole

            I try to stop them before they give the packets too. It backfired recently - called in an order for Chinese to go, asked them not to put in the envelope with all the sauces (we have what we need at home), picked it up, got home - every dish was without its sauce!
            Next time I'll just pull out the packets & hand them back.

            1. re: meatn3

              now that just sounds weird, how do you make sweet and sour anything, w/out the sauce? lol

              1. re: justagthing

                It is nice to know they listen to special requests - just didn't think they would listen quite so well! Thought about going back, but it seemed too complicated by that point. I know for next time.

          2. I will on a very rare occasion take a packet or two of something with me, but i always feel a little weird about it. Will only take stuff i'll use, or stuff i normally would'nt want large quantities of kicking around. I know people who'll take salt and pepper packets....i don't do that. It just feels a bit wasteful to toss it all.

            I also wish sometimes that restaurants wouldn't automatically bring out the bill with hard mint or multicolored sweet candies on the plate that almost taste like jolly ranchers. I never eat them , and have a hard time holding a hard candy in my mouth when i'm really full. Exception is those anise flavored balls they give you in Greek places and my favorite indian restaurant has the big dish of candy covered fennel or some sort (little multicolored things that are colored like "goodies" candy), up front with a big spoon, although i kind of shudder to think of who may have stuck their hands in there.

            Taking condiments with me makes me feel like the little old lady i saw once at a salad bar filling her purse with cheese cubes, lol.

            3 Replies
            1. re: im_nomad

              Was that my mom? LOL My mom and others in my family and actually some friends, always bring a handbag that can accomodate a few extra cookies to take home from AYCE places, especially in Vegas.

              1. re: justagthing

                My MIL, now gone, used to steal the little creamers and actually drink from them when she got home, claiming that they "settled her stomach". I think this was her way to enjoy things like cream and half and half without suffering the guilt/criticism of buying them when shopping with my FIL (now also gone). They must have had a thirty years of medically imposed, low fat dieting, and this was about sinful as eating chocolate. Can't say I blamed her.

              2. re: im_nomad

                I remember reading an article about the little candies you speak of, with out the wrappers.
                Someone took samples from restaurants, I think they were Chinese buffet restaurants of the multi-coloured pastel candies without the wrappers and took them to a lab.
                They found traces of semen, urine, feces, saliva and all kinds of other interesting stuff on those candies! Wish i could find that article for you!