For many, Thanksgiving is as much about savoring the leftovers as it is about the day-of feast. A fully-loaded turkey sandwich or a cold slice of pie can be pure bliss, especially when enjoyed in the comfort of your own home. So, the question begs: if you’re not hosting, how do you ask for leftovers without ruffling your host’s feathers?
To answer this tricky etiquette question, we turned to an expert on the matter at hand: Jeremiah Tower, the much-lauded chef and author of Table Manners: How to Behave in the Modern World and Why Bother. “Unless the host is a very (very) close friend of loved family member, asking without a prompt is looking greedy,” he tell us. “Wait for the ‘Oh please, take some home,’ then wait for the host to repeat their offer. Then take, but do the packing it up yourself.”
By waiting for your host to offer twice, it’s clear that their offer is a sincere gesture. While it should go without saying, if your host generously offers to share in their bounty, be sure to give them first dibs: Do not take the last slice of pie, all of the gravy, or anything that’s in short supply.
Lastly, keep in mind that while many hosts will be happy to share their leftovers, it is also not out of the question that they might want to keep the fruits of their labors for themselves. (It is also not rude for them not to offer.) Consider that they’ve not only opened up their home to you, but also spent a significant amount of time and money on the event. They may be yearning for a break from the kitchen—and ample leftovers provide them just that.