How to Ask for Thanksgiving Leftovers Without Sounding Greedy

Dinner Parties, Entertain, Etiquette, Holidays, Holidays, Thanksgiving
How to Ask for Thanksgiving Leftovers

This Thanksgiving Panini is the leftovers sandwich of your dreams.


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.”


Do not take the last slice of pie, all of the gravy, or anything that’s in short supply.


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.


Attending Thanksgiving at someone else’s place this year? For everything you need to know about how to be a gracious guest, see our Guest’s Guide to Thanksgiving.

How to Ask for Thanksgiving Leftovers
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How to Ask for Thanksgiving Leftovers
For some, turkey day leftovers are the best part of the holiday. Here's how to ask for Thanksgiving leftovers without sounding greedy.
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3 comments about “How to Ask for Thanksgiving Leftovers Without Sounding Greedy

  1. KG

    Do not ask… it’s rude. Help clean up and thank your host(s) for their kindness.

  2. bj

    I agree with previous comment…after all the work of preparing holiday meal the host will surely enjoy some leftovers…………!

  3. Patrick

    We throw a nice but casual “Friendsgiving” dinner the Saturday after Thanksgiving every year. Some friends are excellent cooks and I will ask them to please put a little container of their dish in the back of the garage fridge so I am sure to get a taste. They take it as a compliment. I will also ask a friend who is too busy or doesn’t like to cook to bring a package of carry-out containers and small gift bags, then I put them out shortly before breaking down the buffet. No one has to ask, they clearly know they are welcome to take food home and my stash of favorites has already been set aside for midnight snacking.


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