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Nov 21, 2010 10:40 AM

Thanksgiving Leftovers etiquette

I was debating on whether to send out a mass email telling folks that there is a strict 'No Tupperware' dish policy this year. Thanksgiving is always held at my mothers house every year - she and I do all the cooking. With the exception of 1 aunt making the potato salad, 1 cousin making a cake & bringing soda, and 1 sister-in-law bringing greens. Outside of that, my mother & I do all of the rest. We cook enough for 30. Everything you can imagine. Well last year, at the end of dinner I noticed a few people going outside to their cars and bringing in BAGS of their own tupperware. 1 cousin loaded a family size tupperware dish with dressing, along with other tupperware filled to the gills with other fixings (plus she took the rest of her cake that was left). Forgot to add that she also made a huge separate plate for a boyfriend that was not able to attend. Everyone filled up their personal tupperware with so much food that we didn't have any leftovers for ourselves the next day. Is it rude to tell people no tupperware allowed this year? We want family to come and eat as much as they want, eat 2 or 3 plates of food if you can, but not to take anything home...

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  1. Not rude at all. Leftovers should stay with the host unless offered. If you don't offer, and they shouldn't be grabbing. If they need to be told, they're the rude ones, not you.

    1. Wow, that certainly is different.

      We're usu. left with so much leftovers we're begging people to take it with them (with or without tupperware in tow). Never a big fan of leftovers (maybe for a day or so on Friday, but that's it). Can't even donate the darn things.

      Maybe your guests can come over to our house?

      2 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Ditto - last time we hosted our extended family Thanksgiving (and we're talking about annual 40+ person sit-down dinners), we stocked up in advance on those cheap single-use food storage containers and encouraged everyone to take home some leftovers.

        1. re: BobB

          Single use is one thing, but family sized Tupperware is another!

      2. I would say that since you bought it, prepped it, and cooked it; you should be able to say where the leftovers go. I would say at the end of the meal that if anyone would like some leftovers you will happily allow them to take what is left after you and your mother fill your Tupperware. Take what you want and leave the rest on the counter. Tell everyone, after you take what you want that you are now officially off duty in the kitchen and anyone who wants leftovers can clean the kitchen too.

        3 Replies
        1. re: misslinnea

          This is exactly what I was going to say.

          How rude!

            1. Now that is a toughie. Since I instruct people to bring "take-out" containers b/c we can't possibly eat all those leftovers (and don't want to), I'm happy when they do. But everyone is always careful about not taking the last bits, asking, etc.

              What you describe sounds pretty rude. OTOH, I think sending out an e-mail as you describe
              sets a tone for a celebration that's at least ostensibly about sharing and giving thanks. I can't imagine bringing my own containers unless someone told me to or taking anything home unless it was offered, but I can imagine being offended by a pre-emptive e-mail.
              I wouldn't do it. You risk offending a lot of people because of the bad manners of a few.

              I'm sure others will weigh in w/some creative solutions to being cleaned out of all the leftovers.

              1. Sounds like a precedent was set many years ago and gotten out of hand.
                Seens like the 1 cousin is the main culprit and everyone is competing with her. Maybe take her aside and tell her to take it easy.

                Friend of ours doesn't like leftovers of any kind, so when they host they supply those sectioned foamed take out containers. Maybe supply those and tell each family they can take home "one" of those take out container of leftovers.

                Be a bit of "tough love" to stop the leftover party cold turkey.

                Whatever happens, I'm dying to hear the outcome Friday morning.