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JR8
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Post dinner party doggie-bags

Postby JR8 » Sat, 10 Dec 2011 10:23 pm

We went to a dinner party at a SGn friends home last week and before going home they packed us up a doggie-bag of chicken curry (it would feel impolite to decline it).

This got me wondering. When ever we visit SGn relatives, or weddings we always seem to be compelled to leave with doggie-bags, which as often as not end up uneaten in the fridge and I have to chuck them before the contents grow legs.

Relatives I just about understand (my parents might offer me something to take if they knew I'd be arriving back home too late to cook, but it wouldn't be left-overs), my siblings never would. As for friends of mine, they would never offer me left-over dinner full-stop. That would be a bit... er, weird.

So is it a particularly SGn thing I wonder?

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Postby poodlek » Sat, 10 Dec 2011 10:34 pm

I get it from my aunt after large holiday meals, but she and my uncle are pretty strict about their diets and like to get back to healthy eating immediately afterwards. They also don't have any kids, so the leftovers get distributed by the end of the evening. I've never been offered them anywhere else except at my university boyfriend's parent's house when we went there on a weekend trip...but we were hurting for home cooking :-)

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Postby Strong Eagle » Sat, 10 Dec 2011 10:39 pm

Who cares? Gracious host offers food. Singaporean? Who cares? Take food. Eat or sh*tcan, whatever your preference. Thank gracious host. I've had this happen more places than SG.

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Postby JR8 » Sat, 10 Dec 2011 10:46 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:Who cares? Gracious host offers food. Singaporean? Who cares? Take food. Eat or sh*tcan, whatever your preference. Thank gracious host. I've had this happen more places than SG.


Who cares? Well I do that is why I asked the question :)

I have long been fascinated by subtle patterns and inconsistencies*, as quite often if you give them some thought there is reasoning or logic behind them. And since I've never been offered left-overs by other than the SGn friends mentioned I thought I'd ask!


* Call me anal, and see if I care :P :lol:


p.s. My mental image of Eagle tonight...
Image

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Postby the lynx » Sun, 11 Dec 2011 12:47 am

I'd say that the whole idea lies on one thing: avoiding food wastage...

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Postby JR8 » Sun, 11 Dec 2011 12:51 am

the lynx wrote:I'd say that the whole idea lies on one thing: avoiding food wastage...


So do you think it might be that routinely more food than is necessary is prepared? Hmmm...

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Postby the lynx » Sun, 11 Dec 2011 1:25 am

JR8 wrote:So do you think it might be that routinely more food than is necessary is prepared? Hmmm...


Sadly but true.

Between asking guests to pack leftovers back and losing face for 'not being able to provide well for guests', they rather do the former.

Usually you see this pattern in house parties or kenduris when the host would be more than pleased to ask guests to pack leftovers home. Mostly Malay kenduris but you will see that practiced by others. You won't see that happening in small parties or private functions.

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Postby earthfriendly » Sun, 11 Dec 2011 2:20 am

Since moving out of my mom's house, I have to take care of my own meals and appreciate any respite I get. So whatever a party host is willing to throw my way, I won't hesitate. I found out not everyone thinks that way and some may think it weird if I try to offer them the party leftovers.

We ordered catered food for my daughter's birthday party. There was a lot of leftovers so I offered it to guests. Many of the asian guests are quite grateful but a white friend gave a funny look. I guess some people are just not comfortable with the idea. The response "we have food at home". These were delicious south american food, individually wrapped (kind of like tacos burritos) and freezed well. It was above average food for kids party as caterer caters to wedding, corporate and winery events. I thought it a great idea for the guests to bring a little bit of that home but not everyone felt the same way.

For me it is about sharing the food. But my generousity may be interpreted as not-so-classy behavior. So till now, I still don't understand why my giving away the food is not so acceptable to some. Perhaps you can help explain?

I grow up in a strong food culture. My mom cooked food from scratch (most of the time), prefered to eat fresh and went to the market daily, worked with all kinds of ingredients exotic seafood, meat, gizzard, exotic vegetables etc...... So I tend to have strong feeling and opinion about food. And one of them is sharing of food with others and love of homecooked meals.

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Postby earthfriendly » Sun, 11 Dec 2011 3:52 am

the lynx wrote:[
Between asking guests to pack leftovers back and losing face for 'not being able to provide well for guests', they rather do the former.



My mom always cooked huge amount of food . We ended up having to eat the leftovers and we could only tolerate this much leftovers before it ended up in the garbage. Very wasteful. My mom lived thru WWII and had to go without food or lousy food for a period of time. Somehow she never got over her trauma and it manifested itself in her out-of-control portioning. WWII was over 6 decades ago. Me and my sister found her behavior illogical. But then we never experienced hunger in our lives but instead we have the opposite problem, too much food and waste.

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Postby x9200 » Sun, 11 Dec 2011 6:47 am

earthfriendly wrote:Many of the asian guests are quite grateful but a white friend gave a funny look. I guess some people are just not comfortable with the idea. The response "we have food at home".

This is a very weird response IMO. It may indicate something is wrong beyond the food thing.

For us (and our friends) it's generally uncommon to offer leftovers but occasionally it happens. The main reasoning is not to waste the food that would be otherwise thrown away. The main reason we are not that keen to accept it is because we eat too much.
Classy not classy, I guess it is more about who you invite: it is more in the guests then in the host. Nothing IMHO unclassy offering some food to your friends at informal party but I'm sure Mrs Bucketwould think differently.

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Postby JR8 » Sun, 11 Dec 2011 8:21 am

earthfriendly wrote: So till now, I still don't understand why my giving away the food is not so acceptable to some. Perhaps you can help explain?


Good question EF, and interesting how the original question has turned around 180.

I'm not sure why it might be considered 'not right' to offer guests left-overs. All I can hint at is maybe that, to invite guests to enjoy dinner in your company is very nice. But to suppose they might want extra helpings to take home could be thought of as presumptuous. As you say a response you've heard is basically 'Er, we have food at home thanks'.

Then left overs in the west would be considered in some ways 2nd best, half way to trash. Maybe ok between family.... but really not for guests who leave full, sated, satisfied and don't want to have a bag of second best foisted on them...

Maybe?

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Postby BillyB » Sun, 11 Dec 2011 10:01 am

Asians are great with dishing out food after open houses & parties. It's polite to take it, but there is no contract to say you have to take it home and eat it!

I find I never eat things that are brought back home from parties etc - Just take it and dump it in the garbage but be courteous and take the host up on their offer.

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Postby the lynx » Sun, 11 Dec 2011 10:14 am

BillyB wrote:Asians are great with dishing out food after open houses & parties. It's polite to take it, but there is no contract to say you have to take it home and eat it!

I find I never eat things that are brought back home from parties etc - Just take it and dump it in the garbage but be courteous and take the host up on their offer.


Agreed. Best to just accept and thank the host. It doesn't really matter what you do with them after that (and they don't need to know). Like I said earlier on, the whole idea was to avoid food wastage, which doesn't gel well with Westerners. earthfriendly made a good reference to the older generation (WW).

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Postby poodlek » Sun, 11 Dec 2011 12:13 pm

JR8 wrote:
earthfriendly wrote: So till now, I still don't understand why my giving away the food is not so acceptable to some. Perhaps you can help explain?


Then left overs in the west would be considered in some ways 2nd best, half way to trash. Maybe ok between family.... but really not for guests who leave full, sated, satisfied and don't want to have a bag of second best foisted on them...

Maybe?


+1. If I was offered food here I would take it to be polite, but many things prepared for a dinner party just aren't the same the next day. If there's no good way to reheat it or freshen it up for a decent meal or snack the next day, why bother? On the other hand, if the food was less than delicious the first time around, you finish your portion to be polite and then the host turns around and insists you take more with you? Awkward. Even as a decent cook (especially serving guests who may not be used to my western cuisine) I would never presume that my guests were so enthusiastic about my food that they'd want to eat it again for the very next meal. Unless they were effusive with praise...

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Postby x9200 » Sun, 11 Dec 2011 1:54 pm

Interesting. I would never consider it over the line that this is a 2nd best option. For me it is still the 1st at the time. Whether this is appropriate or not goes rather in the direction of how close am I with the particular group of people.


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